Capacity Building, Information and Awareness-Raising towards Promoting Orderly Migration in the Western Balkans

This regional project, with EUR 1,4 million funding provided by the European Commission, and the Swiss, the German, the Italian and the Lichtenstein Governments, was implemented  from February 2008 to January 2010 by the IOM in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and national governments to develop and integrate efficient information, advice and referral services for migrants to assist their informed migration decisions and prevent irregular migration while fostering local capacity and knowledge in the area of labour migration policy and practice.

This project has overall contributed to (i) the reduction of irregular migration into, within and from the Western Balkans, including to the EU and Switzerland; (ii) the enhancement of the national capacity for labour migration management in the Western Balkans; (iii) increased understanding and knowledge of migration trends and potential in the Western Balkans and possibilities for labour migration; and (iv) strengthened networking and dialogue among target governments and with EU MS and Switzerland on labour migration.

Within the framework of the project, up to 15,000 migrants and potential migrants from WB were assisted with information and advice regarding legal migration opportunities and the risks of irregular migration as well as work/skills development possibilities at home; 2) Relevant officials were trained in providing direct assistance to potential migrants and equipped to provide the service after the completion of the project 3) Up to 300 policymakers and practitioners sensitized and trained on policy and good practice in the context of current and projected labour market needs 4) A research report on the migration situation, migrant profiles and potential for labour migration in Western Balkans produced and disseminated

Information, advice and referral services to migrants and potential migrants have been  provided through the established regional network of Migrant Service Centres (MSCs) as IOM’s unique concept of “one-stop-shop” embedded within the National Employment Service to provide visitors with individualized assistance and group counselling sessions where appropriate on the reality and risks of irregular migration and possibilities/procedures for decent work opportunities in the country and/or for legal emigration.

In addition to providing direct services to migrants and potential migrants, the project had also focused on building capacity of local authorities to develop policy and good practice as sending and receiving countries in the context of current and projected foreign labour needs. The action foresaw transfer of know-how and expertise at both regional and national levels through: a Regional Training Workshop on Labour Migration Management for policymakers and migration managers in all the target countries and academia, using IOM/ILO in-house expertise, human resources and the “Handbook on Establishing Effective Labour Migration Policies in Countries of Origin and of Destination”, followed up by National-level Training and bilateral discussions/roundtables, conducted by IOM, ILO and EU experts. The results of daily profiling of migrants and potential migrants undertaken by the MSCs fed into the Research report on legal emigration from the Western Balkans, which provided analysis of the migration potential from the region as well as of current migratory trends, highlighting the challenges that lie ahead for the target governments and migrants towards optimising the use of legal avenues for migrating and minimising the risks of irregular movements.

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