On 19 July, the International Organization for Migration released the 2018 Return and Reintegration Key Highlights, which provides trends and figures as well as key initiatives on the number of migrants assisted to return, voluntarily, to their countries of origin, as well as efforts IOM has made to assist and reintegrate these returnees into their communities during the past year.
In 2018, IOM assisted a total of 63,316 migrants in returning home through its Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programmes, representing a 12 per cent decrease as compared to 2017.
As in the previous year, this trend continues to indicate a return to a normal situation after an exceptionally high number of beneficiaries were assisted from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland in 2016.
2018 confirmed other key trends, such as an increase in assisted voluntary returns from regions outside the EEA and Switzerland, particularly in West and Central Africa, as well as an increase in the caseload of migrants in vulnerable situations assisted worldwide.
Of the 63,316 migrants assisted last year, almost half 30,919 individuals, or 49 per cent of all AVRR beneficiaries were reached by IOM in just two countries, Germany and Niger, each with about 15,000 migrants IOM engaged. The other countries sending large numbers of AVRR beneficiaries home included Greece (4,968 migrants), Austria (3,469), Djibouti (3,392), Belgium (2,795), Netherlands (2,149), Morocco (1,508), Turkey (1,494) and Italy (958).
Among those opting to go home, Iraqi citizens comprised the largest contingent in 2018, with 5,661 returnees, followed by Guinea (5,088), Ethiopia (4,792), Mali (4,041), Georgia (2,681), Afghanistan (2,232), Albania (2,167), Russian Federation (1,952), Ukraine (1,901) and Cte d'Ivoire (1,834).
The 2018 Return and Reintegration Key Highlights is available in full here.