Type of practice: Assistance programs 

Country: Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Mali, Niger

Name of Stakeholder: International Organization for Migration (IOM) 

Type of Stakeholder Implementing the Practice: International Organizations

Type of crisis: Conflict

Crisis phase: Post-Crisis Action


This project provided assistance to 841 migrants from Mali, Niger and Ghana were repatriated in the context of the emergency evacuation from Libya in 2011. Beneficiaries include irregular and stranded migrants, rejected asylum-seekers and any other vulnerable migrant who wish to return home but lack the means to do so. To this end, IOM is worked in partnership with Governments, embassies and civil society organizations to raise awareness on eligibility criteria and to manage an effective referral network.

The assistance provided to returnees covers a number of activities conducted in different phases as follows:
Pre-departure phase. Initial interview, return counselling, logistical assistance (through booking and ticketing as well as liaison with the relevant authorities to obtain travel and exit documents and/or clearances), pre-departure medical screening.
Transportation phase. Departure assistance, transport (movement coordination, transit assistance, escort assistance) and medical assistance (pre-embarkation medical checks and medical escort).
Post-Arrival stage. Reception, inland transport, health related support, reintegration assistance as well as monitoring follow up.

Enhanced assistance was provided to extremely vulnerable migrants. 

Related Links

Assisted return and reintegration, AVRR, stranded migrants, coordination, rejected asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants, Egypt, Libya, IOM.

Capacity building 

GUIDELINE 8: Build capacity and learn lessons for emergency response and post-crisis action

Limited resources, funding, and technical skills can all affect the robustness of emergency and post-crisis responses. Understanding and assessing these limitations is a critical first step towards overcoming them. Stakeholders’ investment in their own capacity to improve emergency response and post-crisis recovery for migrants is critical.

Capacity building may relate to such varied areas as consular services, training for responders, resource allocation, funding mechanisms, insurance schemes, relief goods and services, border and migration management, and relocation and evacuation. Many of these areas are relevant for both the emergency and post-crisis phases. Stakeholders should also consider addressing potential reintegration challenges for migrants, their families, and communities, facilitating re-employment, income generation, and safe remigration, and supporting migrants to access outstanding wages, assets, and property left in host States.

States, private sector actors, international organizations, and civil society should assist one another to build and improve their capacity to respond. Undertaking advocacy, monitoring and evaluations, raising awareness, conducting training, sharing information, building research and knowledge, and supporting and learning from each other all help to improve collective efforts to protect migrants.

Sample Practices

Training and capacity building of stakeholders, such as on effective ways to access migrants and identify vulnerability and needs. Dedicated funding to protect migrants, including budget lines, loans, and funding platforms. Referral mechanisms that map rosters of experts who can address diverse needs of different migrants. Peer-to-peer exchanges for capacity building and learning on tackling challenges associated with protecting migrants. Training for consular officials, such as on collecting information on citizens and crisis management, including evacuation. Monitoring and evaluation of crisis responses that includes analysis of responses towards migrants.

Communication during a crisis 

GUIDELINE 9: Communicate widely, effectively, and often with migrants on evolving crises and how to access help

Multiple formal and informal communication systems should be activated once a conflict or natural disaster erupts. Migrants should receive information on the evolving nature of a crisis and on ways to access assistance. In addition, those affected by conflicts or natural disasters often have clear ideas about how to improve their safety and security in an emergency. They are an important source of information about risks, local needs, and gaps in protection.

Stakeholders can communicate information to and receive information from migrants and other stakeholders. Repeat messaging, using multiple channels, and different mediums (infographics, audio, and print) can help expand coverage. This is particularly important to reach migrants in an irregular immigration status, those working in isolated and remote conditions, and those who lack access to social and other networks. Communicating and engaging with a diverse representation of migrants, including with marginalized groups, improves needs assessment.

All stakeholders also benefit from timely information as crises evolve and new issues arise. In conflicts, for example, fighting may break out in new geographic areas and affect different migrant populations. In natural disasters, such as earthquakes, aftershocks may cause new damage. It is important to continue to assess these shifting patterns and adapt responses to changing needs.

Different stakeholders are often privy to unique information. Sharing information and knowledge on the evolution of crises and on available assistance can support efforts by all stakeholders to protect migrants and can mitigate confusion that might otherwise arise. For example, some States may obtain information on particular aspects of conflicts or natural disasters helpful to informing actions by other stakeholders, including humanitarian actors. Stakeholders may find value in developing consistent messaging on risks and status updates during crises.

Sample Practices

Regular crisis updates and information on where and how to access assistance through multiple communication channels in relevant languages. 24-hour call centers with linguistically diverse and trained staff offering information and services. Dedicated outreach through volunteers and grass-roots actors to disseminate information on risks, logistics, and assistance to those in an irregular immigration status or working in isolated conditions. Migrant support centers to disseminate information to migrants. Migrants as a source of information on local conditions, on sources of assistance, and challenges. Briefings and situation updates by host State authorities.

Support migrants’ recovery 

GUIDELINE 14: Address migrants’ immediate needs and support migrants to rebuild lives

The dislocation and disruption created by conflicts or natural disasters can have significant and severe consequences for the socio-economic wellbeing of migrants and their families. Migrant workers often support themselves and their immediate and extended families, whether they are with them in the host State or in States of origin. Conflicts and natural disasters can stem the flow of income to migrants and curtail remittances to their families. Technical facilities to remit money can be disrupted. Currency devaluations and changes in exchange rates can affect migrants’ savings and assets. Education opportunities for student migrants can be indefinitely suspended. Xenophobia and discrimination against migrants may increase. Post-crisis conditions in host States and States of transit may allow trafficking of persons and other exploitative arrangements to thrive.

Migrants and their families who return to States of origin after prolonged stays in a host State can experience difficulty finding employment and housing and reintegrating. Reintegration may be especially difficult for victims of trafficking, individuals who experienced sexual and gender-based violence in the host State, children born to migrants in host States who have no experience of the culture in the parents’ State of origin, and migrants who have been abroad for extended periods of time. Possible interventions include cash assistance to address immediate needs, psychosocial counseling, health care, physical rehabilitation, family tracing services, assistance to recover outstanding wages, assets and property, compensation to address losses, and much more. Efforts to restore income for those migrants who return to their States of origin may include certification and recognition of skills, education, and training acquired abroad. Many migrants may seek opportunities to acquire new skills upon return. For various reasons, including to revive their incomes, others may seek opportunities to remigrate back to host States once the crisis has subsided or migrate to other countries.

Migrants who remain in their host States can also experience difficulty resuming their previous lives. They will require many of the same support services as migrants who return to their States of origin, such as cash assistance, health care, psychosocial and other counseling, family tracing, compensation, assistance to recover outstanding wages, assets, and property, and efforts to restore income, employment, and education opportunities. Like citizens, migrants’ post-crisis needs should be factored into host State recovery plans and programs at the national and local levels. States may decide to review immigration and visa rules to provide latitude for migrants who wish to remain in the host State to do so legally. Efforts that leverage the solidarity of migrants who remain in host States towards their host communities and societies could counteract xenophobic and discriminatory attitudes.

Sample Practices

Access to remedies to recover lost property and assets, outstanding wages, pensions, and other benefits. Engagement of migrants in host-State reconstruction efforts. Flexible immigration procedures to enable migrants to retain regular immigration status. Registration, assessment, and recognition of returned migrants’ needs and skills. Immediate reintegration support, including cash and medical assistance. Income and employment regeneration assistance, including assistance with remigration. Certification mechanisms for skills, education, and training acquired abroad.