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Bringing home Bajans

Efforts are on to have at least five Barbadians currently living in Canada without immigrant status resettled in Barbados voluntarily.

Barbados TODAY understands that preliminary discussions being led by the International Organisation for Migration are ongoing with individuals and organisations here in a bid to make this possible as part of a larger “assisted voluntary return and reintegration” programme.

IOM representative Grace Pitt was in Barbados recently for talks on the matter, and held initial talks with officials from the Barbados Association of Non Governmental Organisations the Salvation Army, Barbados Vagrants & Homeless Society, and Barbados Small Business Association.

While IOM is said to currently have two “proposed cases in the pipeline” involving the five Barbadians, the overall intention was to have an “Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Pilot Programme from Canada”, with agencies and organisations here offering reintegration assistance.

Similar assistance was also required for other Caribbean countries, specifically, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Kitts and Nevis, all places where IOM has no offices and therefore needed a local contact.

The related IOM project “concept note” said interested partners here and elsewhere in the region would have to satisfy several criteria before that organisation decided on possible local partners to support the programme’s implementation.

This included “the NGOs capacity, location, mandate, and previous experience in assisting returnees or in humanitarian interventions” and in this regard the Barbados Vagrants & Homeless Society is said to be the preferred local NGO at this juncture.

“Assisted voluntary return and reintegration is a key strategy in ensuring humane and orderly movement of migrants. It is an indispensable component of a migration management approach that is mutually beneficial to migrants, governments and other relevant stakeholders affected by migration,” the project note stated.

In some countries, the fact that IOM does not have an office requires some flexibility in the provision of the reintegration assistance and the identification of local partners such as local non-governmental organisations.

“This is particularly relevant for migrants willing to return to countries in the region of the Caribbean, where IOM has a limited presence. The IOM office in Guyana is responsible for the overall coordination in the Caribbean,” it added.

As far as the scope of the project was concerned, it was envisaged that beneficiaries “should receive counselling if required to support reintegration”.

“The grant amount will be discussed with the returnee prior to the returnee leaving Canada and will not be given to the returnee, but rather paid directly to suppliers’ of goods or services based on the returnees’ request in keeping with the criteria established by the programme,” IOM explained.

“An inception and monitoring report is required for each returnee… All payments for goods and services must be approved by IOM Guyana. All quotations, invoices, receipts and way bills must be sent to IOM Guyana at the completion of the reintegration.” (SC)

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