Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) is an indispensable part of a comprehensive approach to migration management which aims at the orderly and humane return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin.

As a core activity of IOM, AVRR activities provide vital assistance to thousands of migrants returning home every year. Building on experience and a worldwide network of offices and partners, IOM’s AVRR programmes promote international dialogue and cooperation on migration management issues among host countries and countries of origin.

The programme was launched in 1979 and it was created in order to serve the needs of returning migrants and host governments. In particular, more than 1.4 million migrants have been assisted since 1979 when the first programme started in Germany. More than 412,000 migrants have been assisted over the last ten years and more than 40,000 migrants are assisted per year over the last 5 years.

What is included in the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme?

  • The AVRR Programme consists of three main stages:
  • Pre-departure counselling
  • Preparation of return and travel assistance
  • Post-arrival and reintegration assistance


Support provided to returning migrants and their communities serves as the first stepping-stone in what is often a lengthy process of reintegration. IOM asserts that reintegration can be considered sustainable when returnees have reached levels of economic self-sufficiency, social stability within their communities, and psychosocial well-being. Having achieved sustainable reintegration, returnees are able to make further migration decisions a matter of choice, rather than necessity.

Individual circumstances are checked to see whether a returnee is eligible for reintegration support. Individual reintegration support can promote the returnees’ economic self-sufficiency by supporting the set-up of small businesses, promoting the re-insertion in the local labour market and increasing returnees’ skills through enrolment in education or vocational training courses.

Who can use the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme?

  • Asylum seekers, including those who have not yet received a final decision on their application and those whose applications have been rejected
  • Migrants who do not hold a valid residence permit
  • Migrants with a valid residence permit

In 2016, IOM Cyprus has provided information to 224 migrants, through personalised counselling sessions at the office and across the country through our mobile unit; 188 people received migrant assistance, including families, unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking and beneficiaries with health needs; 84 beneficiaries returned to countries of origin, including families and vulnerable migrants and 5 beneficiaries were entitled to reintegration assistance for the set-up of small start-up businesses. The top countries of origin have been India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

The programme is co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Republic of Cyprus.

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