Ruben Laurijssens, ERRIN Senior Programme Manager, provides an overview of the first six months of the ERRIN programme.
In a nutshell, how would you describe ERRIN?
“ERRIN is an initiative that facilitates cooperation between migration authorities, and a joint approach to return and reintegration of migrants, both voluntary and forced. The aim is basically two-fold: 1) To enable and improve post-arrival and reintegration service delivery through networks of local service providers and partners. 2) To capitalise on innovative ideas and approaches to return and reintegration by facilitating collaboration and evidence-based project development and implementation.”
How does the process work?
“Through joint contracting, ERRIN partner countries share the services of one provider in each country of return. Each partner country provides pre-departure counselling, referral and reintegration services in line with their national policies. The EPI can then use the contracts put in place by ERRIN with in-country service providers in selected countries of return. A return allowance can be provided before or after departure and the service providers work with each returnee to identify a suitable reintegration package. This could involve, for example, support for housing, medical needs or skills training. What is really important, is that Member States make full use of the capacities of ERRIN.”
“ERRIN is a challenging project but I am excited and confident that we have the right team in place to hit the ground running.”
What is the added value of the network?
“ERRIN creates economies of scale, through shared procurement. Instead of each country having bilateral contracts with reintegration service providers, members can use the services put in place by ERRIN – a win-win for both EPIs and service providers in terms of harmonisation and simplification.
ERRIN caters for a wide range of needs, covering the entire return process from pre-return to post-arrival. The network also places a special emphasis on difficult cases, such as unaccompanied minors, persons with medical needs and victims of trafficking. This is an area of real added benefit for members.
The other aspect of our core business is innovation, bridging the gap from policy to operations. ERRIN acts as a ‘project factory’ for members to tackle challenges and find solutions. By harnessing synergies and sharing ideas, we can upscale – ultimately adding value through improved practices, more efficient return processes and better levels of support offered to returning migrants.”
How is progress to date?
“Over 13,000 returning migrants have already been assisted, or are currently receiving support (total including the caseload under the former ERIN network). Projections indicate that the target of up to 20,000 returnees assisted by 2020 should be exceeded. The caseload is significant; for example, over 50% of returnees to Afghanistan have been supported under ERRIN.
ERRIN is active 16 third countries, and set to increase its coverage. We are also piloting new approaches through Gov2Gov projects, notably in Armenia, with some exploratory meetings having also taken place in The Gambia.”