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13 Jul 2022

Return Counselling Toolkit

The Return Counselling Toolkit is a capacity-building instrument aimed at providing a harmonized and coherent approach to return counselling based on key migrant-centred principles. Accompanied by operational tools that can facilitate the work of return counsellors, the toolkit is conceived to address the capacity-building needs of return counsellors, as well as to strengthen the knowledge of other return stakeholders, including national and local authorities and civil society. The toolkit has a global perspective, although it also includes specific content focusing on the Western Balkans. It builds upon, complements and further consolidates the existing IOM institutional expertise on counselling, as outlined in key resources such as the IOM Reintegration Handbook as well as IOM Handbook on Protection and Assistance for Migrants Vulnerable to Violence, Exploitation and Abuse, and other key IOM publications. The toolkit also contributes to the operationalization of the IOM’s Policy on the Full Spectrum of Return, Readmission and Reintegration.

  • Acknowledgements 
  • Introduction 
  • Scope of the Toolkit 
  • Contents of the Toolkit 
  • How to use the Toolkit 
  • Module 1: Understanding return 
    • 1.1. Defining return 
    • 1.2. Return, readmission and reintegration 
    • 1.3. Factors influencing the decision to return
    • 1.4. The psychosocial implications of return 
    • 1.5. Return counselling: An evolving practice 
    • 1.6. The importance of return counselling 
    • Tool 1.1: Understanding the psychosocial implications of return
      • 1.1.1. Implications at individual, community and structural levels
      • 1.1.2. Positive or negative implications of return 
      • 1.1.3. Gender and age dimensions of the psychosocial implications of return
  • Module 2: Return counselling methodology 
    • 2.1. Migrant-centred approach to return counselling 
    • 2.2. Key principles for migrant-centred counselling provision
    • 2.3. Return counselling at different stages of the migration path
    • 2.4. Return counselling providers and their role within the case management approach 
      • 2.4.1. Record-keeping
    • 2.5. The return counselling cycle
      • 2.5.1. The first return counselling session(s)
      • 2.5.2. Follow up sessions 2.5.3. Case handover and case closure
    • 2.6. Intercultural competence and communication
    • Tool 2.1: Psychosocial approach to return counselling
      • 2.1.1. Practical exercises and relaxation techniques 
      • 2.1.2. Returning with a condition
  • Module 3: Identifying and addressing migrants’ protection needs and vulnerabilities in the context of return 
    • 3.1. Migrants’ protection needs and vulnerabilities 
    • 3.2. Pre-departure assessment of migrants’ protection needs and vulnerabilities
    • 3.3. Addressing migrants’ vulnerabilities in the context of return 
      • 3.3.1. Migrants vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse
      • 3.3.2. Migrants with health-related needs 
  • Module 4: Delivering return counselling in different settings 
    • 4.1. Return counselling at arrival points and reception (transit) facilities
      • 4.1.1. The context
      • 4.1.2. Useful resources
    • 4.2. Return counselling in immigration detention facilities 
      • 4.2.1. The context
      • 4.2.2. Useful resources4.3. Remote return counselling 4.3.1. The context
      • 4.3.2. Useful resources
    • 4.4. Return counselling provided by mobile counsellors/teams
      • 4.4.1. The context
      • 4.4.2. Useful resources
    • 4.5. Return counselling in emergency situations
      • 4.5.1. The context
      • 4.5.2. Useful resources
  • Module 5: Key elements for an accountable counselling programme 
    • 5.1. Coordination and partnership
    • 5.2. Gender, diversity and inclusion
    • 5.3. Results-based management in the context of return counselling
    • 5.4. Complaint and feedback mechanisms
    • 5.5. Staff well-being and self-care 
      • 5.5.1. Dealing with migrants who are verbally aggressive or who have violent behaviour
  • Tool 5.1: Stakeholder overview
  • Tool 5.2: Monitoring and evaluation