The number of migrants opting for voluntary departure from the Netherlands to their countries of origin with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is growing.
Under the IOM Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme from the Netherlands, 538 migrants were assisted in the month of June, compared to 429 in May. In the first half of the year, over 2,500 migrants departed under the programme – a 100 percent increase compared to the first six months of 2015, when 1,288 departed voluntarily from the Netherlands with IOM assistance.
The main countries of origin for the period January-June 2016 were Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Mongolia, Serbia and Ukraine.
“Voluntary return is a core activity of IOM in the Netherlands. Through our AVRR programme, IOM offers vital assistance to migrants who decide to leave voluntarily from the Netherlands to return to their country of origin,” said Martin Wyss, IOM the Netherlands Chief of Mission.
“To be able to provide the needed assistance to migrants before, during and after their journey, IOM Netherlands works closely with partners in the Netherlands and with the worldwide network of IOM offices in over 100 countries,” he added.
Globally, in 2015, IOM assisted close to 70,000 migrants worldwide under the AVRR programme. This was the largest number of voluntary returns registered in the past decades.
The current migration trends seem to indicate that returns could increase in the years to come – not only in the number of migrants in need of assistance, but also in the complexity of the process.
IOM emphasizes the importance of voluntary return policies that must guarantee the dignity and well-being of migrants, as well as offer practical reintegration support to returning migrants.