New programme for families regardless their asylum status.
6th April 2010: The new Assisted Voluntary Return for Families and Children (AVRFC) programme now aims at enabling one parent and each child under 18 to access up to £3000 worth of assistance.
In 2007, when Individual Return Plan started efforts were made to assist every individual according to need. But International Organization for Migration (IOM) now focuses on the needs of families and children
A press release by IOM UK said they were conscious that the needs of families and children require a special focus.
A press release said the Reintegration Assistance package relevant to a single man returning to set up a business will be very different from one of real, practical use to a single parent with three children.
“We hope that the new emphasis will offer greater reassurance to families about the support available after arrival at home and build greater trust and confidence about the voluntary return process as a whole,” said Clarissa Azkoul, Chief of Mission, IOM UK.
Under the two main Assisted Voluntary Return programmes, Reintegration Assistance has usually only been available to those people who have touched the asylum system at some stage – applying, appealing, refused.
The significant development which comes with the new AVRFC programme is the availability of assistance to families whether they have ever touched the asylum system or not.
“In the past, 79 per cent of all the people we have assisted have been single men and over 80 per cent of them wanted to use the assistance available to help set up a small business.
“Of course, a family may want to use some of their assistance in the same way, but families may be concerned about housing, about pre-departure inoculations for children or post-arrival health checks and advice, and so on.
“We are determined to make the new programme as flexible as possible and ensure that family members – whatever their age – are able to use as much of the assistance to which they are entitled for the benefit of themselves and the rest of their family,” added Clarissa.
Since 2002, under the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme, IOM has offered Reintegration Assistance to anyone who has been in the asylum system who wishes to return to their home country.
This is in addition to help with obtaining travel documentation, purchasing flight tickets and domestic transportation in this country and the country of return.
A relocation grant of £500 in cash is given at the airport (Heathrow or Gatwick) to each person returning. However, Reintegration Assistance is delivered in kind, not cash, according to an IRP (Individual Return Plan) drawn up during discussions between individual returnees and IOM officers, to ensure that the money is targeted in a way which best contributes to a sustainable return