Helping Belarus address the phenomenon of increasing numbers of irregular migrants

About of project:

Period: February 2018 – July 2022

Budget: €7,000,000.00

Implementing agency: International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Republic of Belarus

Location: Republic of Belarus


Irregular migration presents a problem for most countries including Belarus as a transit country en route to the West. Migration flow control and management raise the level of security both on the external Belarus/EU border and in the region in general.

Goals and objectives:
The project mainly aims to support Belarus with the development and enforcement of irregular migration and asylum policies and strategies bringing them in line with European and international standards.

The project implementation will facilitate the respect of human rights and basic freedoms in the sphere of irregular migration in Belarus, aligning the Belarusian legal framework with relevant EU provisions and simplifying operative collaboration between Belarus and the European Union.

Interim outcomes:
A protocol of intent on cooperation between Belarus and the International Organization for Migration in the sphere of facilitation of foreign nationals’ voluntary return to their countries of citizenship has been signed. The programme of irregular migrants’ voluntary return to their home countries and their integration is being implemented. The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme which offers voluntary, safe and dignified return home is established and being implemented. Since the launch of the project, 635 migrants have benefited from the AVRR programme and returned home safely with a significant increase in the number of cases at the end of 2021-beginning of 2022.

To raise awareness about the AVRR programme among potential beneficiaries and general public, an information campaign has been carried out.

To inform migrants about asylum procedures and an option of voluntary return and reintegration, monitoring visits to migrants’ detention facilities have been carried out.

Acknowledging the role of media in the formation of perceptions towards migrants, a workshop for journalists has been held to strengthen their capacity in covering the migration-related topics.

Existing migrant reception infrastructure has been analyzed within the project. To learn the best practices of countries with similar context, a study visit on modern migrant accommodation infrastructure has been organized to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, a referral mechanism between NGOs and IOM to provide pre-departure assistance to stranded migrants has been launched. An information campaign designed to promote AVRR option for the migrants stranded due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been carried out.

Mahym Orazmuhammedova, Chief of Mission, IOM Belarus

Hanna Kalichava, Public Information Assistant, IOM Belarus,,
+375 29 568 44 94


Project glossary

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