Regional Group of Readmission Specialists Meets to Address the Complexities of Return, Readmission, and Reintegration

Belgrade 26-28 March, 2024 - Regional Group of Readmission Specialists (RGRS) convened for its first thematic meeting devoted to enhancing cooperation with countries of origin on the increasingly important reintegration issues.
Six years into the mixed migration response in the Western Balkans (WB) region, return remains a challenge due to limited cooperation between WB partners and Countries of Origin (CoO). This underscores the pressing need for improved cooperation and coordination to address existing challenges effectively.

Facilitated by IOM, upon the interest of the members of the Group, the meeting was opened by H.E. Edward Ferguson, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Serbia, Frederik Damgaard Jansen, Deputy Head of Mission / First Secretary, Embassy of Kingdom of Denmark to Serbia, Richard Goldschmidt, European Migration Liaison Officer in the EU Delegation in Serbia, Zorica Vulić, Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia and Ms. Donatella Bradić, Senior Program Coordinator, Western Balkans and Chief of Mission, a.i. IOM Mission in Serbia. 

In addressing the RGRS gathering, Donatella Bradić summed up what all the key speakers highlighted in accord:

„Successful migration management, in essence, means effectively balancing the complexities, challenges, and concerns surorunding return, readmission, and reintegrations issues and contexts, while enabling safe, orderly and regular pathways,“ adding that IOM advocates for comprehensive strategies that prioritize the well-being and rights of migrants while recognizing the sovereign right of states to govern migration within their jurisdiction.
For its first thematic meeting, the Group brought together specialists from the Western Balkans, and representatives from selected countries of origin, i.a. Bangladesh and Iraq/Kurdistan. The Group jointly identified and formulated common priorities for future cooperation, explored sustainable reintegration policies and practices and the ways to strengthen collaboration. 
The new Law on Foreigners and the Law on Employment of Foreigners in Serbia was presented, while alternative modalities for advancing effective readmission cooperation, various perspective of the countries of origin, and practices in collaboration in the field of return have been exchanged. Moreover, paths to regular and sustainable reintegration have been explored with special attention devoted to return and reintegration of migrants in vulnerable situations. 

The Regional Group of Readmission Specialists serves as a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and the development of a sustainable and efficient system for managing returns in the 
Western Balkans. It was inaugurated last year as a part of the Western Balkan Readmission Capacity Building Facility project, implemented by IOM with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark. The first thematic group also received support of the United Kingdom (UK) Government and the European Union (EU) through the EU Regional support to protection sensitive migration management systems in the Western Balkans and the UK funded Support for evidence-based migration management in the Western Balkans.

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