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09 Oct 2015

Returning with a health condition: A toolkit for counselling migrants with health concerns

An increasing number of migrants choosing to return voluntarily have health concerns that need to be addressed. As vulnerable migrants, they require tailored assistance prior to and during their return travel and with their reintegration into their countries of origin. Some migrants find it difficult to imagine resuming life in their countries of origin, which may be characterized by health-care limitations. They need to be sure that proper health care is available and accessible to them at home. They may worry about becoming a burden to their families, or they fear marginalization due to their health conditions. These concerns play a role during counselling and the practical matters to be organized in view of the return.

This toolkit is one of the outcomes of the IOM project Measures to Enhance the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) of Migrants with a Chronic Medical Condition Residing in the EU. The project was funded by the European Return Fund Community Actions 2011 and co-funded by the Government of the Netherlands. The project brought together two European Union member States – Hungary and the Netherlands – and seven countries of origin: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ghana, UNSC resolution 1244-administered Kosovo, Mongolia and Morocco. The toolkit has been produced in partnership with the Pharos Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities in the Netherlands.

This publication serves as a kit of basic tools for the use of return practitioners working with migrants with health conditions in the context of AVRR programmes. It offers return counsellors some basic knowledge about the characteristics of certain diseases and treatments, impairments in daily activities and the impact on travelling and the return and reintegration process. The toolkit contains practical instruments to overcome barriers that may play a role in the return decision-making process of the migrant. 

  • Terms and definitions
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: A methodology for return
  • Chapter 3: Communication
  • Chapter 4: Chronic conditions and voluntary return
  • Chapter 5: Practical tools
  • References