• Please kindly note that Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) activities of IOM Budapest are suspended at this time and are expected to resume on 1st of December 2015.
  • Nous vous prions de noter que les activités pour le Programme d’Aide au Retour Volontaire et de la Réintégration de IOM Budapest, sont suspendus pour le moment et devrait reprendre le 1-er Décembre.
  • Ju lutemi të vini re se aktivitetet e IOM Budapest të Kthimit Vullnetar të Asistuar dhe Ri-integrimit janë për momentin të ndërprera dhe pritet të rifillojnë prej datës 1 dhjetor 2015.
  • Ljubazno Vas molimo da imate na umu da su aktivnosti IOM Budimpešte vezane za program pomoći za dobrovoljni povratak trenutno suspendovane. Očekuje se da će program nastaviti sa radom 1. prosinac 2015. godine.

Rear View Mirror: When Europeans sought refuge


“We never learn from history.”

How many times have you said, or heard someone else say that. As we witness unprecedented human mobility caused by raging conflicts in the Middle East and other parts of the world, abject poverty, human rights violations and persecution, we are sometimes quick to forget that we have witnessed this many times in our recent history plagued by global conflict.

The current migrant and refugee emergency is perhaps the right time for a reminder that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) came into existence after the Second World War, as the Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movements of Migrants from Europe (PICMME) which soon after became the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM).

Coming into existence in post-World War II Europe and a few years after the establishment of the United Nations, ICEM became the preeminent agency tasked with processing the emigration of over 406,000 refugees, displaced persons and economic migrants from Europe to overseas countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, amongst others.

ICEM was responsible for the resettlement of nearly 200,000 Hungarian refugees who had fled to Austria and Yugoslavia after the Soviet invasion of 1956. In response to the crisis, ICEM together with the host countries, quickly provided the Hungarian refugees with humanitarian aid like food, clothing and shelter.

Such were the migration and refugee flows in Europe at the time, that by 1960, ICEM had directly assisted 1 million migrants.

In 1968, ICEM organized the resettlement of 40,000 Czechoslovakian refugees from Austria.

By mid 1970s over 2 million migrants had been directly assisted by ICEM – most of them European.

In 1992, IOM launched the Yugoslav Emergency Programme (YEP) for the evacuation and family reunification of displaced persons from former Yugoslavia and over the following eight years the programme assisted over 130,000 persons.

In 1996, IOM assisted more than 190,000 Bosnian refugees in Europe to return home. On the eve of the new millennium IOM organized the Humanitarian Evacuation Programme which airlifted some 80,000 Kosovar refugees from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to over 30 host countries.

With the current Hungarian response and general lack of coordinated European Union response to the migration and refugee emergency being criticized, reminding Hungary and other Europeans of their own history as desperate migrants and refugees is sometimes casually dismissed. “Those mass movements cannot be compared and the contexts were different from what we are seeing now,” is the often repeated retort. That may indeed be so, but the main compelling reason why yesteryear and todays’ refugees and migrants are desperately migrating in numbers remain the same. Self-preservation.

The same pragmatism, compassion, empathy, coordinated responses and decisiveness (eventually in some cases) shown throughout these aforementioned migration and refugee crises within Europe, is now desperately needed for today’s migrants and refugees who are now arriving on Europe’s shores.
By Itayi Viriri

Photo series on Hungarian refugees from 1956:

See more at: http://weblog.iom.int/rear-view-mirror-when-europeans-sought-refuge#stha...

Hungarians exploited: the invisible phenomenon

Trafficking in human beings is the slavery of today that takes many different forms including sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, begging or the removal of organs. It involves a severe violation of individual freedom and dignity. On the other hand, trafficking in human beings is a lucrative business for criminal networks generating profits of dozens of billions of US dollars. The 9th EU Anti-trafficking Day (18 October) provides an opportunity for policy makers and the general public in Hungary to reflect upon the magnitude of challenges.

© Dana Irina Popa/IOM 2007-MMD0073

Reports show that Hungary is among the top five countries in terms of where most victims of trafficking come from within the EU. Furthermore, Hungarians constituted 18 per cent of total victims identified in trafficking investigations by EUROPOL between 2009 and 2013. Even though the actual number of victims remains unknown, experts and professionals agree that the scope of the phenomenon has been on the rise (according to the statistics of the Hungarian Ministry of Interior, 122 and 133 victims were identified in 2012 and 2013, respectively). Hungarians become slaves not only abroad, but internal human trafficking is also of major concern.

Despite the growing numbers, trafficking in human beings is not seen as a problem by the society due to the fact that it affects the subjective sense of safety to a limited extent only – unlike other violent criminal acts or offences against property. Additionally, victims themselves do not realise having become victims of criminal activities and they often view prostitution as a chance for better financial conditions. Public awareness of the phenomenon is insufficient even though a rising number of Hungarians go to work abroad and may potentially become victim of labour exploitation, especially in sectors such as agriculture, construction and in factories.

The most vulnerable groups are those in extreme poverty, Roma, unaccompanied asylum seekers and homeless men. Women and children, with the overrepresentation of Roma, are subjected to sex trafficking within the country and Europe, in particular in the Netherlands and Switzerland. A large number of these victims come from state-provided childcare institutions and correctional facilities; many of them are underage and recruited by traffickers while living in such facilities. Additionally, Hungarian men and women are victims of forced labour domestically and abroad, primarily in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

IOM has been actively involved in government efforts to counter human trafficking. It is the only intergovernmental organization to participate in the roundtable meetings with NGOs working on anti-trafficking issues, organized by the Ministry of Interior. Additionally, the Ministry has requested IOM’s assistance in devising a victim screening form to be annexed to the relevant legislation and serve as a victim identification tool.

Besides providing advisory services for the government, IOM has also been involved in providing assistance to victims returned by IOM from destination countries. Since 2012, IOM assisted 80 Hungarian victims to return home and re-establish their lives. IOM refers victims to the official shelter and administers funds available for reintegration, whenever they are available from the destination country. There are currently two major destination countries, Switzerland and the Netherlands, from where such funds are available. In order to provide comprehensive services, IOM works with a network of NGO partners. As case-by-case assistance cannot and should not substitute a standardized assistance mechanism with guaranteed funding, the IOM has been continuously lobbying with the Government of Hungary for the establishment of a comprehensive, government-funded assistance mechanism with several shelters throughout the country.

Even though the root causes of victimization are embedded in poor socioeconomic conditions that only a set of long-term measures of social and education policies can effectively address, there are several steps of immediate impact that can be taken to mitigate the phenomenon. IOM advocates that officials should not criminalize victims and instead should appropriately screen people in prostitution for trafficking victimization. More efforts should be invested in identifying victims among vulnerable populations. Security and services should be enhanced at state-run institutes for children. Ultimately, victim assistance should be strengthened, together with raising public awareness of this invisible phenomenon.


I am a migrant is about humanizing migrants’ stories of migration and providing a platform to present their narratives in their own words.This project can help change the lens through which people view migrants and migration.

This joint International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) global campaign seeks to challenge prevailing unfavourable media and public discourses which have an important impact on public perceptions of migration by creating one of the greatest audio archives on migration in the world.

With one person in seven people migrating across the world, it is important to show that behind every migrant, there is a story worth hearing.

For more information on I am a Migrant, please go to: http://iamamigrant.org


Missing Migrants Project tracks deaths of migrants and those who have gone missing along migratory routes across the globe. The research behind this project began with the October 2013 tragedies, when at least 368 migrants died in two shipwrecks near the Italian island of Lampedusa. Since then, Missing Migrants Project has developed into an important hub and advocacy source of information that media, researchers, and the general public access for the latest information.

Missing Migrants Project uses statistical data from governments and sources other agencies, as well as NGOs and media.

For more information on Missing Migrants Project, please go to: http://missingmigrants.iom.int


IOM Director General William Lacy Swing officially opened IOM’s new Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin.

The creation of the new center is part of IOM’s response to growing calls for better data on global migration trends. The center also aims to ensure that migration data are shared and communicated more effectively.

In his opening remarks Ambassador Swing noted: “Poor presentation of migration data can contribute to misperceptions about migration, and distort public debates about the topic. We need to do more to ensure that data are presented accurately and communicated in ways that can be easily understood.”

For more information on the GMDAC, please go to: http://gmdac.iom.int/

The Statement from Ambassador William Lacy Swing, the Director General of IOM on the news of up to 50 refugees found dead in the truck in Austria close to the Hungarian border.

 “In the absence of a managed migration strategy, the deaths, reportedly, of dozens of victims who suffocated in the back of a truck in Austria this week, remind all of us of the consequences of leaving those seeking safety and a better life at the mercy of human traffickers. Just as we have seen on the Mediterranean for these last three years, just as we have heard of similar tragedies suffered in the searing Sahara heat, the specter of death now haunts the European continent—unless something is done, and soon, to make migration legal and safe.”

Több tucatnyi menekültet találtak holtan Ausztriában egy teherautóban a magyar határ közelében.

„A tucatnyi áldozat halála, akik a híradások szerint Ausztriában, egy teherautó hátuljában fulladtak meg a héten, rávilágít arra, milyen következményekkel jár, ha megfelelően végrehajtott migrációs stratégia hiányában az embercsempészek irgalmára bízzuk azokat, akik a biztonságot és a jobb élet lehetőségét keresik.

Éppen úgy, ahogy azt a Földközi tenger térségében az elmúlt három évben láttuk, és éppen úgy, ahogy a Szahara perzselő hőségében történt tragédiák kapcsán hallottuk, a halál most az európai kontinensen kísért – hacsak nem teszünk valamit, mégpedig gyorsan, annak érdekében, hogy a megteremtsük a biztonságos és legális migráció lehetőségét.”

William Lacy Swing, a Nemzetközi Migrációs Szervezet (IOM) főigazgatója

Running an Effective Migrant Resource Centre: Handbook for Practitioners launched within HEADSTART project

In recent years, Governments, NGOs, and IGOs such as IOM have established Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) and other similar facilities in both origin and host countries, providing a range of services to migrants seeking migration opportunities abroad to reintegration upon their return home. MRCs have been set up to support diverse objectives, such as providing information on safe migration and protection of vulnerable migrants, facilitating labour migration, reintegration and development, and a range of beneficiaries (labour migrants, family  migrants, resettled refugees), in both countries of origin and destination.

The aim of this Handbook is to provide guidance to those considering setting an MRC on issues of institutional set-up, design, legal basis, procedures, coordination mechanisms with other stakeholders, and resources needed and for those who are already operating such a service, to provide a useful reference source on issues of monitoring and evaluation, quality control, communication and outreach strategy and a link with post-arrival stage. It is recognized that the procedures will need to be adapted for local conditions.

The handbook is produced as part of the project HEADSTART: Fostering Integration Before Departure, co-financed by the European Union Integration Fund, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, and managed by IOM office in Budapest, in partnership with the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) and authorities in charge of integration issues in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia. It is available in English, Albanian, Arabic, French, Russian Serbian and Spanish.

Download the Handbook [English]

Download the Handbook [Albanian]

Download the Handbook [Arabic]

Download the Handbook [French]

Download the Handbook [Russian]

Download the Handbook [Serbian]

Download the Handbook [Spanish]

Who is your migrant hero?

IOM Hungary joins ‪#‎MigrantHeroes Social Media Campaign today. The campaign invites people around the world to identify and tell the stories of Migrant Heroes.

In many countries ‪‎xenophobia and negative perceptions of migrants are increasing. IOM believes that migrants contribute to society and feels that the negative lens through which many people view migration needs to be changed.

The #MigrantHeroes social media campaign will highlight the many ways in which ‪#‎migrants contribute both to their countries of origin and their host communities.

Read more and tell us who your migrant hero is: http://www.iom.int/news/iom-launches-migrantheroes-social-media-campaign

Share Migrant Heroes stories: http://goo.gl/tUnPmQ

IOM global review of existing pre-departure integration support practices launched

On 21st May 2015, IOM mission in Hungary, in partnership with IOM missions in Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia, and governmental partners in these countries in charge of integration issues, associate partners in Moldova, Macedonia and Kosovo, as well as the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) launched the report: “Headstart to Integration: A Global Review of Pre-departure Support Measures for Migrants”.

The aim of the report is to establish promising practices in pre-departure integration support for immigrants with a particular focus on promoting early labour market inclusion in line with the migrants' level of qualifications and competences. The study also examined the services that assist migrants to find their way in a new country and become part of a new community, with a focus on practices relevant for integration of immigrants entering the countries of destination for the purposes of work, family reunification and studies, as implemented by a range of public and private actors. To achieve this, the analysis classifies these practices and approaches drawing on global evidence and with a focus on the European Neighbourhood countries, Western Balkans and Turkey. Based on the information collected, common denominators, factors of success or failure, the structure of such measures and their link with the post-arrival phase are analysed.

This publication has been produced within the framework of the project “HEADSTART: Fostering Integration Before Departure” managed by IOM in partnership with the World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES) and authorities in charge of integration issues in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia, and co-financed by the European Union Integration Fund, Ministries of Interior of Italy and Austria and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands (COA).

The report is available for download here.

Pre-departure integration support policy brief is available for download here.

For more information on the project, visit www.headstartproject.eu