Movements and Assisted returns
Organizing the transport of refugees and migrants for the purpose of resettlement is a core activity of the IOM in Southern Africa. Working closely with the UNHCR, IOM coordinates pre-entry medical assessment and the transport logistics for refugee resettlement cases. Refugees are commonly resettled to the US, Australia, Canada and Norway.
In addition, the IOM is involved in significant voluntary repartition activity across the region. IOM, inconjunction with UNHCR, is currently assisting Congolese refugees return home from Martane Camp in Mozambique and Meheba, Kala and Mwange camps in western and northern Zambia. In total, approximately 23,000 refugees could benefit from this assistance.
These operations build on IOM’s previous experience in the region. From 2003 – 2005, IOM Angola helped 100,000 Angola refugees to return home from neighbouring countries including Zambia, Botswana, DRC and Namibia by land and air through a voluntary repatriation programme (VolRep) run jointly with UNHCR.
IOM is deeply concerned about the plight of irregular migrants in need of assistance to return to their own countries. IOM assists rejected asylum seekers, trafficked migrants, stranded students, labour migrants and qualified nationals to return home on a voluntary basis.
In conjunction with IOM in London, IOM South Africa is implementing a Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP) for South African nationals in the UK and Ireland who are rejected asylum seekers and wish to return home voluntarily. IOM South Africa also runs Reintegration Assistance (RAS) Programme for South African rejected asylum seekers from Switzerland.
In addition to helping individuals and families with the cost of their flight to South Africa, IOM is able to provide reintegration assistance once they return home with the funding assistance from European Refugee Fund (UK/Ireland) and The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Switzerland).
Reintegration assistance includes:
- access to education or job training
- grant for the establishment of a small business
- education or crèches for children
- general information and advice business opportunities and available training courses.