Master of Advanced Studies
in Humanitarian Logistics and Management


Reintegrating in Iraq - E.S.

The Effect of Reintegration Assistance on Sustainable Return Migration in the Context of Kurdistan Region of Iraq
by Wria A. Rashid

Iraq as a war-torn country has a very complex migration trends. The population has seen serious waves of displacement, emigration, and also immigration from the neighboring countries, particularly from Syria. In the past months, many Iraqi youths from many parts of the country have left to Europe through illegal means aiming to lead to a better life. 

Many of them believed that it is an opportunity for them to see the world and escape from violence and ordeal. However, many of the Iraqi youth originated from main cities like Bagdad, Basra, Najaf, Erbil, Dahok, Sulaimaniya, and few other cities decided to leave the country despite the fact that their life was not in direct danger. They simply had financial means to pay to the smugglers to take them to Europe. While in Europe, and after spending a good amount of money on their illegal journey, they realize that they made a wrong decision and regretted it, especially after being exposed to a reality that much differed from what they expected initially.

As a result, many of them decide to go back to Iraq only after spending less than six months. This puts pressure on migrant, Iraqi authority and most importantly on the host countries. With this setting in place, the research will look into the possibilities of making sure the potential migrants experience the reality that they have in their dreams but without going through the irregular means or be a financial burden on the host countries.

Its objective is to see whether the current reintegration programs produce sustainability and satisfy migrants for avoiding further irregular migration attempts and what are necessary changes possible to make the programs more effective research is a mixture of a qualitative and quantitative study. The usage of in-depth interviews with several reintegration staff members working for International Organization for Migration for explaining the current reintegration process, the daily challenges they face in the reintegration process, their perception of the packages offered and their understanding of the sustainable return is intertwined with the development of a structured questionnaire which is used to obtain first hand data from the selected returnees. The data gathered through stratified probable random sampling during which return migrants located in Dahok, Erbil and Sulaimaniya are considered.

The majority of the returned migrants have their living conditions upgraded to the ones of local people. The monetary value of the reintegration assistance is very important when the living condition in a country of origin obliges migrants to meet different needs. Job finding mechanism to a large extent takes place informally. Having a good connection through family members or friends is key to be quick on the job. Many returned migrants live in rented houses, and although earn some money through the engagement of a livelihood activity, their overall living condition is affected by the contribution they need to make to the housing needs.

Only 16% of the returned migrants have an intention to re-migrate within the next six months from the date of the survey conducted. However, among the 16%, many of them consider regular means for their re-migration plan and would choose different destination country. Most of them are jobless at the time of interview.

The research concludes that the reintegration assistance regardless of its various components largely contributes to the sustainability of return. Although the option of providing the reintegration assistance in the form of cash is preferred by some donors, the research concludes that the majority of the cash receivers do not prioritize the in-kind usage afterward and hence remain unemployed. Research findings help the donors and implementers of the reintegration assistance to understand the level of satisfaction among the beneficiaries and look into the possibilities of adjustments.


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