Return and Reintegration

Globally, IOM provides return and reintegration assistance to migrants who wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programmes (AVRR) are an integral part of a comprehensive approach to migration management aimed at offering humane and dignified return and reintegration options to migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries.

IOM provides logistical and financial support during the pre-departure and post-arrival stages of the return process. Reintegration assistance is a vital component of IOM’s programmes which aim to support returning migrants by providing opportunities for employment, skills development and training, education, and income-generating activities. Tailored reintegration packages aim to promote returnee self-sufficiency. IOM has assisted more than 1.2 million migrants worldwide since 1979.

In the UK, IOM was responsible for the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme for over 10 years. From 2011 until recently, Refugee Action had been implementing this programme.

With effect from 1 January 2016 the Home Office will be providing support for those who want to return home. These services will be provided through the Home Office Voluntary Departure Service. You can find out more information here, via phone on 0300 004 0202 (Monday - Friday between 09.00 and 17.30) or email using They have a programme called ‘voluntary return’ which can help with the cost of your flight. 

They also have a programme called ‘assisted return’ which can include a cash grant to help find somewhere to live, find a job or help start a business. Please note that this is a government implemented programme and you will therefore be sharing your details with them if you choose to contact them. Non-EEA national adults may also be subject to a re-entry ban by taking ‘assisted’ or ‘voluntary’ return. Please also be aware that the Home Office website also states “You can be forced to return to your home country if you withdraw your application or don’t follow the application process”.

Facilitated Reintegration Scheme (FRS)

In line with its Constitution, IOM only assists those individuals who want to return voluntarily to their county of origin. Nevertheless, migrants who are forcibly returned, often after several years in the host country, face considerable difficulty reintegrating in their country of origin. Considering this need for assistance by a number of forcibly returned migrants, IOM overseas country offices provide post-arrival reintegration assistance to UK returnees after they have been formally admitted to their country by the authority. IOM UK coordinates the programme which has assisted over 5000 returnees in some 60 countries since 2011.