Persons whose application for asylum has been rejected, third-country nationals who have found themselves in an irregular situation (who hold an expired visa or an expired residence permit) have an obligation to leave the territory of the Republic of Lithuania. According to the EU and Lithuanian legislation such persons should be granted the opportunity to leave the country voluntarily. However, it often happens that migrants cannot afford to do it on their own. Thus, they might be subject to forced return to their countries of origin. Assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) is often the only humane and safe opportunity to return to the country of origin for unsuccessful asylum seekers or TCNs who found themselves in an irregular situation. To prevent recurring irregular and/or failed migration IOM may provide reintegration assistance, the purpose of which is to help migrants to establish themselves back in their home countries.
International Organization for Migration Vilnius office (IOM Lithuania) has been providing AVRR for more than 18 years. Apart from the main activities - the assisted voluntary return and reintegration program, IOM Vilnius office has also contributed to the capacity building of the practitioners and the development of inter-institutional cooperation among institutions involved in the voluntary return process.
- Main Activities
- Provision of the voluntary return assistance to third-country nationals, including vulnerable persons. From 2018, IOM Vilnius office has provided the voluntary return assistance for more than 300 people. During the implementation period of the last project (July 2021 - October 2022), 90 persons benefited from voluntary return assistance and safely returned to 19 countries of origin.
- Provision of reintegration assistance for migrants, who had returned voluntarily to their country of origin. During the implementation of reintegration assistance more than 70 people have benefited from the programme. During the implementation period of the last project (July 2021 - October 2022), 10 successful reintegration opportunities were provided and helped people settle in their countries after their return.
- Organisation of seminars, conferences and other events for institutions involved in the voluntary return process to strengthen their capacities and ensure smooth cooperation. During the implementation of AVRR more than 30 seminars, trainings, and conferences, 4 regional consultations and more than 13 study visits to various countries have been organised.
- Studies and analyses of the reintegration opportunities in the countries of origin. During the 5-year period studies on the reintegration opportunities in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, as well as in the Central Asia have been conducted.
- Dissemination of the relevant information about voluntary return and reintegration programme: distributing information brochures, posters, leaflets, video and film screening, meetings with the target group, diplomatic missions, partners and other interested bodies and individuals.
The programme is financed by the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund and from the State budget of the Republic of Lithuania. The last project was implemented from July 2021 to October 2022.