IOM Ethiopia's Visit to Norway Facilitates Better Understanding for Migrants on Voluntary Assisted Return
IOM organized a visit from IOM Ethiopia to strengthen support for Ethiopian Migrants. Photo: IOM 2023/Janhvi Gupt.
Oslo, Norway - A vital component of the Voluntary Assisted Return Programme (VARP) is annual visits by IOM Missions to Norway to meet with migrants that may be considering returning to their Country of Origin (CoO). Over the years, these visits have played an important role in enabling migrants to make informed decisions about returning to their home countries. In a bid to strengthen the support for Ethiopian migrants to make decisions about voluntary return, IOM organized a CoO visit of two IOM Ethiopia staff to Norway from 11 to 15 September 2023 to meet with Ethiopian migrants staying in Reception Centres (RCs) throughout the country.
IOM Ethiopia had previously conducted similar visits to Norway in 2017, 2018 and 2019, assisting IOM Norway to engage with Ethiopian migrants in the RCs, provide information about the availability of return and reintegration assistance, and address the unique needs and concerns of these migrants residing in Norway.
Overview of Objectives Achieved
The primary objective of these outreach visits was to provide essential information to Ethiopian migrants and Reception Centre (RC) staff, regarding the current situation in Ethiopia and IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme. The visits were conducted in RCs with higher populations of Ethiopian residents; seven centres were shortlisted and visited during the four-day visit. The seven targeted RCs are located in Solbakken, Ringsaker, Vinstra, Tingvoll, Trondheim, Bankplassen, and Setermoen.
A total of 25 Ethiopian RC residents were briefed on the current situation in Ethiopia including specific security updates for different regions of the country. IOM Ethiopia staff shared information about IOM’s reintegration assistance that could be available to them in Ethiopia following return, and individual counselling sessions were held so that Ethiopian RC residents could speak with IOM Ethiopia staff about specific concerns that they want more information about in order to make an informed decision.
The CoO visit from Ethiopia to Norway continued IOM’s efforts to maintain a relationship between Ethiopian migrants staying in Norway’s RCs with their country of origin, ensuring they have access to up to date information about the situation in the country, and offering an opportunity for open dialogue about reintegration assistance available through IOM Ethiopia. The visit achieved its objectives by providing current information and individual counselling to those in need. It also shed light on profound challenges faced by long-staying migrants at the RCs in Norway, including mental health issues. IOM remains committed to facilitating safe and informed returns, contributing to the well-being of all involved.
This initiative was made possible with the support of Norway's Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
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