Learning Path

Assisting nationals affected by crises abroad: An e-learning course for foreign service staff

In today’s increasingly interconnected and mobile world, more people are moving abroad than ever before in history. The role of home countries’ foreign services in providing nationals abroad with travel advice, documentation and assistance is becoming increasingly important.

When the country in which nationals are staying is affected by a crisis such as a natural disaster or a conflict, support and assistance by foreign services and other relevant home country institutions is essential to guaranteeing the safety of nationals in crises areas.

IOM, in collaboration with foreign services of various of its Member States, has developed an E-Learning course on “Improving assistance to nationals affected by crises abroad” to enhance the ability of relevant personnel to manage crises that may affect nationals living, working or travelling abroad. Strengthening these institutions’ preparedness to crises is essential to ensure that they can cope with the intense demand of assistance by their nationals in the event of a crisis.

Course fast facts

Objectives. The course provides basic information to improve the capacity of relevant personnel to:

  • Communicate with nationals abroad before and during crisis;
  • Directly provide key services and assistance to nationals in the affected area; and
  • Facilitate the evacuation of nationals from crisis affected areas, if needed.

Target audience. The course targets consular officials, labour attaches and other personnel of institutions mandated to serve and assist nationals abroad.

Structure. 14 thematic modules that include case studies and best practices, background materials and practical tools (e.g. templates, infographics). Course includes exercises to check understanding of thematic modules, final assessment and certification.

Duration. Approximately 5 hours.

Access. The E-Learning course can be accessed online in Arabic, English, French and Spanish. Click on the preferred language to access the course directly.

National adaptation. IOM encourages the further translation and adaptation of the course to reflect the operational reality and priorities of its partners. To this end, IOM shares the source materials with governmental counterparts, free of charge, and supports their adaptation through targeted research and technical assistance, upon request.

For more information on the e-learning course and other MICIC capacity-building resources, please contact IOM’s MICIC team.


Improving Assistance to Nationals Affected by Crises Abroad - A course for Institutions of the Country of Origin

The online training course targets mainly personnel of institutions mandated with assisting the country’s nationals abroad, such as staff of embassies and consulates, labor attaches, and members of dedicated crisis response teams. It aims to strengthen their awareness on the specific challenges their nationals traveling, living, and working abroad face when confronted with crises in a country different from their own. It also aims to build the capacity of consular staff to address some of these challenges before, during and after crises, including through the use of specific tools. This six hour course can be adapted to different national contexts.


The course is structured in four modules:


  • Nationals Abroad in Crises
  • Vulnerability and Capacities of Nationals Abroad
  • Crisis Situations

Actors and Frameworks

  • International and National Legal Frameworks
  • Collaborating with Relevant Actors

Planning for Crisis

  • Profiling and Tracking Nationals Abroad
  • Improving the Awareness of Nationals Abroad
  • Contingency Planning
  • Communicating with Nationals Abroad in Crises

Responding to Crisis

  • Supporting Evacuations of Nationals Abroad
  • Providing Relief Assistance
  • Supporting Recovery

Click here to download the reference manual and contact us at MICICsecretariat@iom.int if you are interested in taking the course.