Since 2015, IOM has provided support to the relocation scheme, allowing to derogate from the Dublin III Regulation and to transfer asylum seekers from one EU member state to another EU member state in which their asylum claim will then be processed.
The emergency relocation scheme was set up by the European Commission and launched in September 2015 in order to relocate 160 000 asylum seekers from frontline member states (Greece and Italy) over a period of two years. Although the scheme is no longer legally binding as of September 2017, the EU Commission continues to encourage states to implement relocation on voluntary basis.
Between 2015 and 2018, IOM supported 25 EU member states and associated states with the relocation of 34 694 persons in need of international protection from Greece and Italy, under the emergency relocation scheme.
Between 2018 and 2019, IOM supported France with the relocation of 637 asylum seekers from Spain, Malta and Italy, in the framework of ad hoc arrangements following the disembarkation of hundreds of persons rescued in the Mediterranean by commercial ships or lifesaving boats.
IOM role is to provide comprehensive movement assistance by organizing the transfer of beneficiaries from the first host country to the relocation country and to accompany them at every stage of the relocation process. Pre-departure health assessments are carried out in order to ensure that refugees’ health needs are addressed and that they are fit to travel. Pre‑departure cultural orientation sessions and pre-embarkation briefings are also organized with the aim to provide practical information about the receiving country as well as about the journey. All beneficiaries are assisted at the airport by IOM staff during boarding, transit and upon arrival, in the country of destination. Depending on the needs of the refugees, operational and/or medical escorts can be arranged for the duration of the journey.
- Relocation program 2020 from Greece
In January 2020, France committed to relocate 400 asylum seekers (mostly families with children). This commitment was complemented by a second announcement in May 2020 indicating that France would host 350 unaccompanied children, under a European Union relocation initiative for 1,600 unaccompanied children from Greece to other member states.
IOM is actively supporting France and Greece in the implementation of this resettlement program. Specific arrangements will be established for unaccompanied children, for which a Best Interest Assessment must be carried out prior to any relocation decision. A tailored methodology and material for pre-departure cultural orientation will also be set up.
- The Dubs program
Between 2017 and 2020 IOM supported the transfer of 480 unaccompanied and separated children from France, Greece and Italy to the United Kingdom, under Section 67 of the UK Immigration Act of 2016 (also known as Dubs amendment).
In total, 101 unaccompanied children (Afghan, Eritrea, Ethiopian, Iranian, Somalian, Sudanese, Chadian nationals) were transferred from France to the UK.
IOM France, in coordination with the local authorities and the social services in charge of the children, organized pre-departure health assessments and met with the children in the accommodation facilities in order to deliver pre-departure cultural orientation aimed at providing background information about reception in the UK and identify possible vulnerabilities. IOM staff also escorted each beneficiary to the UK (by flight or Eurostar train), ensuring assistance during the immigration procedures upon arrival and handover to responsible authorities.
For more information, please see the dedicated webpage on the website of IOM Regional Office in Brussels: https://eea.iom.int/relocation
Joude’s history, a Syrian refugee who was relocated by IOM with his wife and daughter from Greece to France through the EU Relocation scheme.