Established in 1951, International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the leading Intergovernmental Organization in the field of migration management. IOM’s global work is largely categorized into four main areas of migration management, encompassing: 1) migration and development; 2) facilitating migration; 3) regulating migration; 4) forced migration. Its cross cutting activities include promotion of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrant's rights, migration health and the gender dimension of migration. With a membership of 147 countries to its council, IOM acts with its partners in governments, civil society and the international community to:
• Assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management;
• Advance understanding of migration issues;
• Encourage social and economic development through migration;
• Uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.
IOM established its presence in Nepal following assumption of its membership on the IOM council in October 2006. In 2007, the Govenment of Nepal and IOM signed a memorandum of understanding, and since then IOM has expanded its range of migration management services in close partnership with the Government of Nepal to develop balanced national migration policies. Current areas of IOM work in Nepal are as follow:
1. Resettlement of Bhutanese Refugees: In close collaboration with UNHCR, the Government of Nepal and eight Resettlement Governments, IOM facilitates selection missions, conducts medical examination of refugees selected for resettlement as per the protocol of the destination country, conducts cultural orientation for the destination countries, facilitates exit permits and arranges travel for the refugees until their final port of entry. Between February 2008 and May 2013, IOM-Nepal has facilitated the departure of 79,154 Bhutanese refugees to 8 countries of resettlement. It is projected that resettlement will continue through December 2014, with a numbers declining from 2013 onward.
2. Migration Management: IOM has been implementing a series of technical cooperation and capacity building projects with the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE), which is the nodal ministry on migration in Nepal. Completed and on going projects focus on the human resources development of the MoLE, improvements to the migration policy of Nepal, strategic planning for the Ministry’s Foreign Employment Promotion Board, research on remittances, the establishment of the Migration Resource Centers, financial literacy programs, the establishment of agricultural training center, among others. Further to this, IOM also facilitates the reintegration process of unsuccessful Nepali asylum seekers and economic migrants being repatriated mainly from European countries through assisted voluntary return programmes.
3. Counter Trafficking: IOM has been actively engaged in various counter trafficking initiatives, primarily focusing on technical cooperation and capacity building of the government and local NGOs since 2009. In partnership with the Newcastle University in the UK and Shakti Samuha a multi-year research project focusing on the livelihood options for the trafficked survivors is being implemented.
A pilot project on economic rehabilitation for trafficked survivors and potential victims of trafficking in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and local NGOs was launched in 2010. This project works in collaboration with the corporate sector and specialized institutes that provide skills training, job placement or entrepreneurship support ensuring substantial income for the beneficiaries in a sustainable manner. To date, over 200 trafficked survivors and potential victims of trafficking have benefited through various economic rehabilitation schemes. Besides efforts for expansion, the project intends to mainstream the concept into Nepal's national development plan through capacity building of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.
4. Migration and Health: IOM’s Migration Health Department operates a Migration Health Assessment Clinic (MHAC) in Kathmandu for Nepalese nationals seeking immigration to the United States, Canada and other countries. Furthermore, since August 2011 IOM Nepal in close collaboration with National TB program and with support from WHO stop TB partnership has been implementing a TB Reach project in nine districts which aims to improve TB case detection by reaching out to the most vulnerable groups such as labour migrants and people living with HIV and AIDS. Under this project IOM has introduced the GEN-XPERT technology testing for TB in nine Government run laboratories and training staff members with the new technology.
5. Peace and Transitional Justice: IOM provided technical assistance to Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MoPR) in design of possible reparations programs and its administrative mechanisms for victims who suffered human rights violations during the ten-year armed conflict. Technical assistance to MoPR is provided in light of transparent and efficient delivery of interim relief to conflict victims including for implementation of Employment and Self Employment Services (ESES) since 2010.
6. Border Control and Information Management Systems: IOM and the Ministry of Home Affairs jointly conducted an assessment of Nepalese migration management practices and border control and information management systems. The final report that includes a list of recommendations for improved border control and the capacity to manage regular and irregular movement of people was submitted to the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs in a report launching ceremony in December 2011. IOM and the GON are currently working on a joint project to implement these recommendations.
7. Disaster Preparedness: As the cluster lead of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), IOM commissioned a study to identify Open Spaces for Humanitarian Purposes. Based on the findings and recommendations, the Ministry of Home Affairs has endorsed 83 identified sites for use in emergencies and natural disasters. The process of protecting these sites from any other use or encroachment through a national gazette notification is underway. In collaboration with other humanitarian clusters and the Government of Nepal, IOM is planning to develop detailed site plans as well as prepositioning of services and facilities in the large and medium sites.
Furthermore as a part of Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Programme of UNDP, IOM is involved in Strengthening Emergency Preparedness and Response mechanisms at National, District and Municipality Levels.
Kathmandu and Damak, Jhapa