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.
A pilot project implemented by 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. To this end, ERRIN and OFII came together to allow returnees from all ERRIN Member States 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 project, which commenced in early 2020, focuses on providing reintegration assistance in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DR Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Togo. At the same time, OFII regional offices are exploring the possibilities of referring ERRIN returnees to existing development aid initiatives implemented by local governments and NGOs present on the ground, boosting the sustainability of their reintegration journeys and providing a broader scope of support, going beyond the initial reintegration grants.
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.
- OFII is physically present on the ground through its representation abroad in Cameroon, Mali, Morocco and Senegal, offering useful field-knowledge and strong monitoring mechanisms, following up on the cases during 12 months after the approval of reintegration plans.
- OFII wears a double hat: a public administration body and experienced implementer of reintegration programmes in the countries of origin. This allows for excellent understanding of both issues faced by the European states, and operational challenges on the ground.
- Local service partners contracted by OFII support the returnees at every step of their reintegration journey, from drafting a reintegration plan to submitting the final report.
- Through a tailor-made approach, returnees are encouraged to take a full ownership of their project, come up with individual ideas that fit their needs, and are embedded in the local ecosystems from the very start.
- OFII offers a comprehensive approach: returnees may benefit from psychosocial support from external partners or from additional funding for their projects, granted by national authorities or external partners.