IOM Azerbaijan expands reintegration assistance to migrants returned to the country voluntarily

Baku, 3 September 2020 – IOM Azerbaijan continues providing the reintegration assistance to returnees– the citizens of Azerbaijan who voluntarily returned to the country of origin within the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) project. In order to ensure the safe work of employees, the temperature of employees and visitors entering the premises is checked, the recommendations and rules of the World Health Organization on COVID-19, hygiene procedures are followed, protective equipment such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizers are used.

From the beginning of the current year to the end of July, the IOM Azerbaijan provided 185 in-kind assistance to returnees within the framework of the AVRR project. Of them, 24 returnees were provided with temporary housing (rent), 30 returnees were assisted with small business, 120 returnees received material assistance (equipment and necessary furniture), 10 returnees received medical assistance and 1 returnee was assisted with education. 

Kheyyam (pseudonym) is one of the Azerbaijani citizens who voluntarily returned from Switzerland within the above mentioned project implemented by IOM Azerbaijan. He returned to Azerbaijan with his family in February this year. According to him, he worked before emigrating abroad and did not face any financial difficulties. “There is a such stereotype that people migrate to other countries for a better life. In fact, there are enough people among migrants who go abroad for treatment. I was one of them. I worked as an engineer and head of department for a long time. The reason I went abroad was not money. We lived in Switzerland for 2 years. Living expenses were high and incomes were low. My income was not enough not only for treatment, but also for our normal life”, says Kheyyam. 

In addition to all these difficulties, homesickness made him think of returning to Azerbaijan.

 “As soon as we received information from friends about the Voluntary Return Assistance and Reintegration project, we immediately applied to the local office of the organization. In addition to reimbursing our family’s repatriation expenses, the IOM provided counseling and reintegration assistance through the Mission in Azerbaijan. The staff of the local office explained the necessary steps and legislation to start my business, and provided comprehensive assistance. With the help of the IOM Azerbaijan, I bought a car to satr my business. At present, I support my family by providing taxi services to people. 

Thank God I am in my homeland. I hadn’t seen other countries,  it was interesting for me. I went and saw. It is better to live in your homeland,” says Kheyyam. 

Currently, IOM Azerbaijan provides its assistance activities for migrants returned from Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Latvia. One of the main parts of reintegration assistance besides educational activities, temporary housing, is employment or setting-up income-generating activity, e.g., small business for voluntarily returned migrants.

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