Voluntary return is a key strategy in ensuring humane and orderly movement of migrants. It is an indispensable component of a migration management approach mutually beneficial to migrants, governments and other sectors of society affected by migration. It is a more dignified, cost-effective and sustainable alternative to forced return as it takes account of the person's decision, allows the returnee to prepare for the return, and avoids the stigma of deportation and its negative repercussions for successful reintegration.
Migrants aspiring to return and pursue their life in Moldova are often hesitant to do so as a return is usually associated with considerable logistical and financial problems. Yet for a successful start in the home country, solving existential problems such as finding employment, pursuing education or organizing school enrolment for children is crucial. The IOM-supported National Reintegration Network can offer a package of selected reintegration services to returning migrants, including those returning in the framework of Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programs.
Integration and Reintegration
For six years, IOM Moldova has been assisting the voluntary return of Moldovan migrants by implementing projects oriented towards return and reintegration of migrants returning from EU countries (Austria, UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium,Slovakia, Slovenia, Luxemburg, Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania), as well as providing reintegration services to members of local communities, offering alternatives to migration and contributing to local community development and poverty reduction.
Reintegration services can be delivered at the local level through Rayon National Employment Agency branches, while the program is administered and monitored through IOM Chisinau and the National Reintegration Office in the central office of the National Employment Agency of the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family.
The “reintegration basket” is a flexible package of assistance measures and can include a wide range of services tailored towards the individual needs of the returnee: medical assistance, employment counseling, reinstallation grants, grants for small business start-ups, vocational training or other forms of education, etc. The reintegration process is a dynamic one, and accordingly the implementation of assistance is regularly monitored and can be adjusted to changing needs and circumstances.
Policy Debate & Guidance
Following IOM advocacy and support, in September 2008 the Government passed the National Return Plan aimed at stimulating the return and facilitating the reintegration of returning migrants; a very timely policy document, given the world economic crisis which is likely to cause the return of a substantial part of Moldovan labour migrants. A follow-up policy document is currently being worked on, with the conceptual and policy advice support by IOM.
- More than 500 returning migrants provided with return and reintegration assistance (vocational training, university and college education, purchase of professional equipment, job mediation, business training and grants for small business set up, reintegration monitoring).
More than 360 members of local communities provided with reintegration assistance (vocational training, university and college education, purchase of professional equipment, job mediation, reintegration monitoring).
Within the “Supporting the implementation of the migration and development component of the EU-Moldova Mobility Partnership” program, during the year 2012, had been assisted a number of 42 returnees. An approximate equal number of males (22) and females (20) benefited of assistance. The returnees were offered a series of consultations regarding the social reinsertion options, how to start up a business in Moldova and on the required documentation and legal support. As a result 42 business plans were elaborated and supported by the project. As well, 4 returnees – all females- chose that a part of the grant should be used for education.
Through this project a number of 14 returnees (who underwent the labour exploitation for a period of one year) had been transported from Kherson, Ukraine to Chisinau and have been assisted with creation of small starts-up. The majority of trafficked persons have origin from Edinet district. Other high number of Moldovan returnees was from Syria, which was due to the geopolitical situation of the country.
The monitoring visit after 6 months shows that 2 persons are planning to re-emigrate in Syria and Liban and one person dropped out the business due to management problems. Other 39 cases are successful small starts up.
Below is presented one success story of a returnee from Austria.
Corina, 36 years old, has returned in August 2012 in Moldova from Austria. After 10 years abroad she has no doubts that she would like to come back in her village. Her situation was quite good in Austria: she rented an apartment and all her financial resources she invested in a small business- she opened a small shop. Even so, she was in continuous stress- if the shop bankrupt how to do to stay legal, how to pay the debts, etc. After 10 years of thoughts and fears she decided to return to homeland through IOM, Assisted Voluntary Return program. Here in Moldova she had been waited by her younger sister and her parents. They were very happy to see her back.
In Moldova she was eligible for a start up program. She applied for it and obtained sewing equipment for 1500 Euro. Her aunt offered a space where she could work together with her sister. Thus, they haven’t to pay rental premises. They started to sew taking orders from clients. At the end of August there were a lot of clients due to graduate period. They were very busy, working till midnight. Now they have an income of approximate 5000 MDL / 315 Euro per month. The prices for sewing are minimal taking into account that the sisters would like to gain clients and become popular. Even they are working in a small village they have clients even from the capital.
After 6 months, during the monitoring visit, we saw how their business is growing. As well, there happened personal changer in her life-she got married. For future, she and her sister, are planning to open a line of baby clothes. This is Corina’s dream. Dreams come true just at home!!
“Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration of Minors and Young Adults from Moldova with emphasis on the Prevention of (Re-) Trafficking”
On 01.07.2012, IOM began implementation of the project "Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration of Minors and Young Adults from Moldova with emphasis on the Prevention of (Re-)Trafficking", which is co-financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior and the European Return Fund. The project ensures that minor and young adult trafficked and/or vulnerable persons are assisted and protected following their voluntary return to the Republic of Moldova
The following activities are implemented through the project:
1. INCREASED NETWORKING AND COOPERATION;
2. SUPPORT TO VOLUNTARILY RETURN;
3. REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION ASSISTANCE.
Within this project a number of 8 returnees has been assisted, 5 out them started a small business at local level, 1 attended vocational training and benefited of psycho-social assistance and other 2 are minors and must decide what to follow.
The project is designed to young returnees (up to 25 years old) from Austria who would like to return voluntarily to Moldova and to continue living in homeland. The project ends in December 2013.
Herewith, it is presented one successful case:
With the assistance of the AVRR CT Moldova project, Nicolae purchased 50 sheep from a local sheep owner. Nicolae and this man keep their sheep together and he has been supporting Nicolae to learn how to make cheese from the sheeps’ milk. Their relationship can be described as an informal business partnership, as they run their sheep businesses together and mutually support each other. Altogether they have 100 sheep and they split their earnings evenly.
According to Nicolae, the sheep started providing income immediately. He has already sold lambs, milk and cheese in the surrounding villages.
Before going to Austria, Nicolae was engaged in selling Chupa Chups lollipops on the market in Chisinau. He earned enough to pay his rent and nothing else. He has also worked for three months in the construction sector in Moscow, which was very badly paid at 3000 lei (EUR 190) per month.
In the future, Nicolae would like to have 500 sheep. He estimates that he will need 4-5 years to build up his flock to this number. He and the local shepherd have heard about a special breed of Dutch sheep that provides four liters of milk per milking (four times the amount of their sheep) and they may consider buying this kind of sheep in the future. As this sheep breed is very expensive, they will have to save up in order to make the purchase.
Nicolae benefited, as well, of business training that had been very helpful. Through the training he learned how to sell, establish a price, compare prices and figure out where to sell. He noted that there are very few sheep breeders in the area, which is a significant advantage for him.
With his sheep, Nicolae earns approximately EUR 600 a month. He feels satisfied with his income and is saving money to improve the stables where the sheep are kept.
For the future he plans to lay a water line into the stable so that it is not necessary to carry water from the nearby well.
He said that his family is very happy that he is back in Moldova.
“Support to the Reintegration Mechanism in Moldova for Readmitted and Returned Moldovan Nationals (Phase III)” within SIREADA project (01.03.2011-28.02.2013)
The action aimed to enhancing the well-being of 50 returned or readmitted Moldovan nationals through reception and reintegration support.
Professional reintegration assistance has been provided to returned or readmitted migrants through the National Reintegration Network.
1) Collaboration with NEA on reintegration referrals from the NEA territorial offices has been enhanced.
2) 50 Moldovan returnees applied for reintegration assistance and received the necessary support provided by the project.
The main countries from where had been coming Moldovan returnees within this project are the following:
Within this project the distribution of persons by age categories varies a little and in addition is gender balanced:
|Age ||Number of persons||Out of whom are female||Male|
|20-29 year old||14||6||8|
|30-39 years old||11||6||5|
|40-49 years old||13||4||9|
|50 and more||12||9||3|
The main areas of reintegration interest of returnees are:
a) business tools / tailoring; bakery; hairdressing; beauty; building services; agriculture;
b) domestic animals for livestock.
Monitoring visits showed the sustainability of this type of reintegration support.
Below are presented 2 succesful cases of a young lady and young man:
Elena, a young lady, has worked in Poland for several years as hairdresser. Some times she helped her husband in Russia in construction field as well. Tired to be abroad, far from her relatives, she decided to come home. Upon returning to Moldova in September 2012, she approached the regional Employment Agency in Telenesti, in order to find a job. The NEA consultant informed her about reintegration under the SIREADA project and forwarded the application and the business plan to IOM Chisinau. Elena intended to open a hairdressing salon in her village Tirsitei. Based on the assessment of her reintegration plan she was accepted in the program and was able to purchase the necessary equipment for the hairdressing salon: chair, scissors, hairdressing machines, etc. A monitoring visit was done after 3 months and it was found that Elena’s salon is a successful one. As she is only one person who has a real hairdressing salon in Tirsitei village, her small business contributes to the development of the community.
Dorin, 20 years old, learnt in Poland martial arts. He would like to come back to Moldova and teach children this art. Thus, he applied in AVR program for reintegration support. His business plan was approved and he bought mattresses for his gym from Cahul town. He formed a teenager group whom he is teaching this kind of art. He is pleasant to work with young groups; they are smart and fast learn the necessary movements. In spite of his age- just 20 years old- Dorin is responsible and pushful young man. For the future he would like to increase the number of groups and to hire more qualified trainers. At the moment his income is average and he aspires to a higher one.
Information on Return and Reintegration in Countries of Origin (IRRICO II)
New Website Provides Reliable Information on Return and Reintegration in Countries of Origin- International Organization for Migration in Belgium (IOM) has launched a new website to provide migrants in Europe with unbiased and up-to-date information on return and reintegration opportunities in their countries of origin.
The EC-funded website allows migrants who are currently residing in Austria, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland to have 24/7 access to comprehensive information on return and reintegration conditions in 20 countries of origin, from Afghanistan to Ukraine, including Albania, Angola, Armenia, Brazil, Cameroon, the DRC, Georgia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Moldova, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Serbia and Sudan.
The direct link to the Moldova country sheet, which contains useful information for returning migrants is http://irrico.belgium.iom.int/images/stories/documents/Moldova%20RO.pdf
AVRR Success stories
After spending 2 years in Ireland, away from his family and home, Stefan decided to return back to Moldova. He missed his son and his dearest ones a lot. Because of the crisis that affected Ireland, it was difficult to find a permanent job there. Thanks to the IOM Dublin’s assistance Stefan returned home and joined his family in Moldova. IOM Moldova provided Stefan with assistance allowing him to restart the agricultural works in which he was involved before leaving Moldova. He needed a cultivator for ploughing vineyards.
Car painting business in Moldova
Simion, together with his wife, had been working in the UK for 4 years. After giving birth to a baby, Mara, his wife, had to take care of their child. It was difficult to keep a family in UK having an occasional job. Even more difficult was living without their other daughter who remained in Moldova in the care of Simion’s parents. The young family decided to come back to Moldova and to resettle in their hometown. Being in Moldova, they received support through IOM Moldova and purchased car paint tools. The business they use these tools for is quite successful and the young family can afford to live a decent life in Moldova. “We are thankful to IOM for its support. Thanks to this organization we are home with our eldest daughter.”
Selling good on local market
Alexandru is an irregular migrant who has been working illegally in Switzerland for 1 year. When he lost his job, he decided to return to Moldova. With IOM’s help, he succeeded to come back home. In order to help his mother, Alexandru started to work on patent basis in the trade sector. IOM Moldova provided him with the necessary assistance in order to start the new job. He rented a table in the local market and he now sells the goods. Sometimes his mother helps him. “It is very difficult to sell here. There are few clients and sometimes the daily profit doesn’t cover the rent we have to pay”, says Alexandru’s mother.
Dairy products business
Through the assistance Andrian received from IOM he succeeded to come back to Moldova from Slovakia. Upon his return, Alexandru was helped by IOM to purchase 2 cows and sell the dairy products on the local market. “I am very happy that I chose to return. Here I feel more comfortable, being with my family and girlfriend. The business is profitable. The dairy products are quite expensive, even if it demands hard work”.
Integration of foreigners in Moldova
After having lived and worked together in Italy for 5 years, Silvia, originally from Columbia and her Moldovan husband decided to go to Moldova and start a new life together with their small child. Their return was difficult because of the irregular status of Silvia’s husband in Italy, but thanks to the assistance of the IOM Rome they managed to come back home.
The reintegration process in Moldova wasn’t easy for Silvia, taking into consideration that she did not know the country, its culture, language and traditions, but because she wanted to be together with her family, the integration into the new society was successful. Soon after their arrival to Moldova, Silvia began to understand the language. Now Silvia is fully integrated, she loves Moldova, its nature and welcoming people. “In the morning I wake up and the first thing I do is going in the garden. It is amazing. My baby also very much likes the food here. I am happy.” The IOM Moldova provided material assistance to this family in order to facilitate the reintegration process.
Empowering local persons interested in business set up. Prevention of illegal migration in rural areas.
From sewing traditional costumes to bags’ export in Italy
Tatiana is a small local entrepreneur. She has her own atelier where she sews national suits and traditional Moldovan crochets. The work is quite slow as it is manual work and the eyes are the principle tool. At some point she needed a good printer and scanner that would facilitate her job. IOM granted her with a high resolution scanner and printer that helped her lot. Before that, 8 women were working in the atelier on a permanent basis, but after a period of 6 months, 10 women were already working in the atelier. The results were amazing. The IOM assistance allowed women to have a decent job here in Moldova and not to leave the country and their families.
After 2 years of intensive work Tatiana wanted to expand her business in another field. Her active temperament always guided her in right directions. She established a good partnership with the director of sewing factory but the lack of qualified employers was the main risk in her business. She approached IOM with a project idea of supporting her in employing 70 people. It was necessary to find and train women and girls in sewing, most of whom came from vulnerable families. IOM assisted in the organization of 7 trainings in sewing begs, as well as ensured facilities to these people. Over 70 persons were trained of whom 40 were employed. “This is a great result! The initial salary was 500 MDL / 50 USD and now the highest salary is 4500 MDL / 450 USD. People are motivated and the business is successful. These persons don’t understand why I behave in a good manner with them, because other employers are indifferent to the workers”, said Tatiana.
Recently, on 30th of June, Ms. Tatiana organized a cultural event celebrating the week of national blouse. In partnership with Natalia Albot, Ms. Tatiana arranged a space with traditional embroideries, blouses, jewelry, and some traditional food and drinks. At the event was encouraged to wear national blouses or accessories. Additional, she formed already second group of women who would like to learn how to embroider the blouses. The first group, approximate 10 persons, has developed skills in this field.
Ms. Tatiana is very happy that people are interested in keeping the traditions.
Hairdressing salon in Calarasi.
Natalia and Svetlana are twin sisters; Natalia has a disabled child at home but faces difficulties taking care of him being a single mother. Svetlana is divorced and tackles some financial problems. The two sisters decided to start up a hairdressing salon in Calarasi town. They began in a small rented space in the centre of the town, having the strict necessary tools, during which time the quality was not high. Because of the low profit, they decided to invest more in their business and rented a larger space in order to create better conditions for clients. IOM’s support was substantial and crucial: they got professional scissors, hair dryers, a curling machine, a lawn mower, mousses and hair fixative, etc. Thanks to the IOM assistance, the profit increased and the clients were satisfied with the quality. “Now the clients tell me that they don’t hear how I work with the scissor and the lawn mower is great!! Thank you for this!”
Sewing business in Moldovan rural areas
When you have a dream you should do everything to follow it. Sabina is one of the hard working and ambitious persons who knows how to achieve goals. Despite the fact that Sabina was born with a disability - she cannot speak- she graduated from the professional school of sewing. She was one of the best students and wished very much to have her own atelier of sewing. For this to happen she needed a new sewing machine. IOM Moldova supported Sabina in buying the sewing machine. After 6 months, during one of the monitoring visits, she presented her works to the IOM staff. It was amazing! She has a relatively small profit, but it is a chance for her to be useful and she is living her dream.