The French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII, L’Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration) dates back to 1945, when it was established as the first public organisation in France in charge of immigration.
Headquartered in Paris, with numerous representative offices around France and in third countries, today OFII functions a public authority under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior and follows four main priorities:
- Reception and integration of immigrants with a legal stay permit in France;
- Reception and support of asylum seekers;
- Management of legal immigration procedures;
- Return and reintegration of migrants who wish, or have to, come back to their countries of origin.
A partnership agreement between ERRIN and OFII aims at providing a more harmonised and global-reaching alternative to the traditional model of having one generic reintegration service partner.
Member States are encouraged to make return procedures more effective by working towards reintegration packages that are consistent and coherent among all Member States. One way forward that has been identified is cooperation with existing service delivery networks, opening up their scope and service provision to all ERRIN Members. OFII, one of ERRIN’s Members, manages such a service delivery network through its regional offices in countries of return.
Therefore, ERRIN and OFII have come together. Through a partnership agreement, returnees from all ERRIN Member States are able to receive assistance through regional OFII operations. This develops a common, more standardised approach on reintegration assistance for every ERRIN Member State participating in this project.
The pilot, which commenced in early 2020, will run for 12 months, with the first phase focusing on Cameroon, Mali, Morocco and Senegal. Additionally, the four OFII regional offices are exploring the opportunities to refer ERRIN returnees to existing development aid initiatives implemented by local governments and NGOs present on the ground, linking return to development.
Member States are asked to provide a minimum of €3,000 as assistance, with ERRIN funding 50% of this package. Up to 100 returnees from ERRIN Member States are expected to benefit.