Reintegration Assistance for Voluntary Returnees to Afghanistan, Pakistan

and the Russian Federation/ the Chechen Republic

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Country Office for Austria is implementing the project “RESTART – Reintegration Assistance for Voluntary Returnees to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Russian Federation/ the Chechen Republic” from 1 July 2015 until 31 December 2016. The project is co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union and the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Within the framework of this project, third country nationals can be assisted in their voluntary return from Austria to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation as well as in their sustainable reintegration in their respective country of origin.

The project foresees the participation of 330 project beneficiaries. Only one person per household is eligible to participate.

IOM implements the following activities within the framework of the project:


  • Organization of travel logistics (including purchase of flight ticket)
  • Departure assistance at Vienna International Airport
  • Reception assistance and organization of onward travel in Afghanistan and Pakistan


  • Pre-departure information sessions in Austria
  • Post-arrival counselling: Advice on beneficiaries’ opportunities and options based on the local situation, their educational and professional background and their personal situation.
  • Financial assistance: Cash grant of EUR 500 for each beneficiary to address their most immediate needs following their voluntary return to their country of origin.
  • In-kind assistance such as
    • Support for income-generating activities such as small business start-ups, business partnerships (e.g. purchase of equipment, goods) or vocational trainings
    • Support for vulnerable persons: Improving living conditions
    • Accommodation
    • Education
    • Childcare
    • Medical support

In-kind assistance is provided through direct payments to the service providers/suppliers.

Measures to support returnees’ efforts to reintegrate into their societies are determined in a participatory and consultative manner taking into account the individual needs and skills of each participant.

Special attention is given to project beneficiaries with special needs (single parent families, unaccompanied minors, elderly, trafficked persons, etc.).

IOM and local partner organizations carry out monitoring interviews and visits to beneficiaries in the country of origin.
In addition, monitoring trips allow IOM staff from Austria to meet beneficiaries after they have received the assistance.

IOM Austria is dedicated to raising awareness about the topic of return migration and relevant assistance schemes. In the framework of RESTART, information and experiences are shared with interested stakeholders and the broad public. In addition, the transnational discussion and exchange among practitioners, Diaspora organizations, authorities and academia is supported and facilitated.

IOM seeks and maintains contacts with relevant stakeholders in Austria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Russian Federation in order to establish and expand local support structures for returnees, in particular for vulnerable groups.

In Austria, return counselling is provided by organizations commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior as well as the Provincial Government of Carinthia. IOM closely coordinates all activities with return counsellors and is ready to answer any questions or concerns on an individual basis.

The IOM Austria AVRR Stakeholder Group, a forum set up by the IOM Country Office for Austria for relevant stakeholders, meets on a regular basis to discuss the project’s progress and constraints.


Lina A. returned to the Chechen Republic in the Russian Federation by mid 2016. Within the scope of the project "RESTART", she received 20 beehives for the sale of honey.

„For me it was essential to return home to my mother and my relatives in the Chechen Republic. Unfortunately, I did not have the necessary means to do so. Therefore I very much appreciate the support of my return counselor, IOM and the team of VESTA for their attentive and humane attitude to the problems of returnees.“




Thanks to the project "RESTART", Imran Z. has been able to earn a living from buffalo milk production after his return to Pakistan.

„The project has been of great support to me, even though in summer it is difficult to find the right fodder for the buffalos. My father also supports me and I am able to make some savings.“





Thanks to the project "RESTART", Navid O. was able to invest in a grocery business after his return to Afghanistan.

„I was lucky: With the support of the project I was able to enter a profitable business partnership. Now I earn enough to cover the expenses of my family.”





For further information please contact:

Andrea Götzelmann-Rosado

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Nibelungengasse 13/4
1010 Vienna

Tel: 0043/ 1 585 33 22 22