Zims in UK encouraged to return home

zim_flagLONDON Refugee Action has launched a voluntary return service to assist people in the diaspora return home.

The service, which started this month, gives people impartial and confidential advice and assistance with all aspects of return. It used to be run by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Choices offers help from skilled case workers on making the decision to return, allows people to find out about the experiences of those who have already returned and gives some applicants financial assistance.

Last year, more than 200 people returned to Zimbabwe through the programme run by IOM. Dave Garratt, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, said: Taking the decision to return to your country of origin after moving to the UK can be extremely hard. Our service offers confidential, non-directive advice on all aspects of return. Our expert case workers can provide information to help people plan for the future and the service offers financial assistance to some to help set up businesses or find jobs or educational opportunities. We are developing relationships with overseas partners to help people to reintegrate once they have arrived home and will keep in touch with returnees with their permission.

The financial assistance that people are entitled to varies depending on the applicant and their circumstances. Individuals who are in the asylum system, but have no permanent right to remain, or who have discretionary leave, may receive up to 1500 in financial help. Families – whether asylum seekers or not – can receive up to 2000 per family member. Everyone who is accepted for Assisted Voluntary Return has their travel home paid for. Irregular migrants may also qualify for help to return home, but without the additional financial help. – Find out more: Freephone 0808 800 0007 www.refugee-action.org.uk

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