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IOM Bribing Asylum Seekers to Return Home

Birmingham NoBorders | 28.01.2006 02:42 | Migration | Birmingham

In a programme co-financed by the European Refugee Fund, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Home Office (HO), has intensified its campaign to "urge" both successful and failed asylum seekers to return home, offering them money.

iom logo.. modified
iom logo.. modified

On 1 January, 2006, more than 50,000 asylum claimants and failed asylum seekers received a letter from the Home Office offering them £3,000, as a price to leave the UK and return to their home countries. This "regeneration assistance" used to be £1000; now there is an additional £2000 for those who take up the offer between 1 January and 30 June, 2006.

In order to qualify for the enhanced return package, claimants have to leave the UK before 30 June 2006. The condition, apparently, is that they withdraw their asylum claims or, if they have appealed against refusal, withdraw the appeal.

The so-called Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP), operated by the IOM, started in 1999 to make deportation more efficient. The "voluntary return" of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants has since become an important part of deportation policies and the government's efforts to meet its quotas.

Officially, the IOM is an "independent, neutral, international organisation". How independent the organisation really is, however, becomes clear when one looks at whom it considers as "chain partners": the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, the border police and many foreign police bodies. Together, all these "chain partners" make sure that immigrants and refugees disappear from the UK: either in a "friendly" manner, through "voluntary return", or less friendly, through forced deportation. What's even more worrying is that the IOM has been quite successful in building up relationships and networks with refugee aid organisations and support groups, those which wouldn't normally work together with the Home Office or the police.

For more information about IOM see:
- No Border's IOM Watch:
- Make Borders History's archive on IOM:

IOM contact details in London (for campaigns and actions):
21 Westminster Palace Gardens,
Artillery Row,
Tel: 020 7233 0001
Fax: 020 7233 3001

Birmingham NoBorders
- e-mail:
- Homepage:


Who are the IOM? - with offices in - Glasgow - Liverpool -London

28.01.2006 06:56

Who are the IOM?

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an organisation of member governments and is solely concerned with security and economic needs. It does not have any mandate to protect refugees or migrants in international law or agreements. It is not a ‘humanitarian’ organisation, not an agency of the United Nations, and is not accountable to any democratically elected body. Despite using the language of rights it does not automatically observe international human rights and refugee protection norms. It does not have any mechanisms, either internal or external, to assess whether the conditions in countries are safe for people to return to, or what happens to anyone after they do return. Grave concerns have been expressed about IOM work by the International Council for Voluntary Organisations, Roma National Congress, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Jesuit Refugee Service, to name a few.

Returns can never be voluntary- When they are based on state violence through Coercion, Duress and Force.

The government and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with offices in Glasgow, Liverpool and London, have written to people offering them £3000 if they leave on a voluntary basis.

Is it possible for any return to ever be voluntary? The National Asylum Support Service (a wing of the Home Office) stops everyone from working to support themselves and tells them to work for nothing (slavery), in exchange for below subsistence support, vouchers and accommodation, whilst it is unsafe to leave the UK. Forces people to live in places of no choice, on below subsistence support and often in accommodation no one else wants. Tells single people and families they will be made homeless, destitute if they fight against enforced returns and gets local authorities to threaten to take children away. As well as treating people like criminals by making them wear Satellite Tags and removing people to detention centres in Dawn Raids. These examples of state violence, there are many more, clearly show that these £3000 IOM KickBacks can never be voluntary.

Choices: Fight Back or KickBack?

Join the thousands of single people and families who refuse to comply with state violence, refuse to leave and demand their right to stay. You could start a campaign against your removal, don’t beg, demand solidarity against the racism of immigration controls.

Fight for the right to stay, freedom of movement, the right to work and access to the welfare state for all.

IOM Watch:

london noborders

IOM's partners also include Refugee Action and the YMCA

28.01.2006 19:17

According to newsletters on the IOM London website, the IOM has many partners in its so-called Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP).

'IOM has continued to work in partnership with Refugee Action, YMCA Glasgow, North of England Refugee Service and Safe Haven Yorkshire. A new partner was added this year with the Wolverhampton Asylum and Refugee Service.'

'New IOM office at Heathrow supports Transit Movement'

'In response to increasing transit requirements, as well as increasing numbers departing under the voluntary return programme, IOM London opened an office at Heathrow Airport in January 2004, and now has three full-time staff there. In 2003 IOM London assisted over 9,000 transits, and is likely to assist upwards of 18,000 in 2004.'

IOM London Free phone: 0800 783 2332

Tel: 0207 233 0001

Choices at Refugee Action

Manchester: 0161 233 1200 (or Free phone: 0800 917 2719)

London: 0207 654 7700

Leeds: 0113 244 5345

Leicester: 0116 261 4846

NERS (North of England Refugee Service)

North-East: 0191 510 8685

Options at YMCA Glasgow

Glasgow: 0141 557 2355

Safe Haven Yorkshire

Sheffield: 0114 256 1033

No Borders - No Nations - Stop Deportations!

Kick them out.. and the IOM will pick them up!

30.01.2006 18:01

The National Asylum Support Service (NASS), which provides asylum seekers with accommodation while their asylum case is being processed, is terminating its support for those deemed eligible for return under IOM’s VARRP.

Failed Kurdish Iraqi asylum seekers who are in receit of NASS support under Section 4 of the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act (provision of accommodation for failed asylum seekers) are receiving letters from NASS informing them that their eligiblity for support is “being reviewed” on the basis that, “in the Secretary of State’s opinion, a viable route of return is now viable.” The route of return, facilitated by IOM, is apparently by air to Erbil in norther Iraq, which many international observers, including UNHCR and Amnesty, regarded as unsafe and, as such, not viable.

The letter then goes on to “advise” them about the IOM and their “voluntary return” programme, with an IOM leaflet enclosed. It then asks them to register with the programme within 14 days or, otherwise, their support would be terminated.

Isn’t this, simply, called blackmail?!

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