The Transnational Exchange V project will host its next interactive online workshop in March 2021 with the topic "Exchange and update on different European counselling systems”
First Transnational Exchange V workshop implemented
The first workshop of the Transnational Exchange V project took place online due to the on-going Covid-19 pandemic on the 10th and 11th of November 2020. The topic of the workshop was "Assisted voluntary return to Latin America with a focus on El Salvador, Venezuela and Colombia”. We will publish a short clip with the biggest lessons learned in the near future. In the meanwhile you can read the lessons learned underneath.
We would like to give you some ideas or hints on what to discuss with Latin American returnees during your AVRR counselling session.
- Lesson learned 1: The Latin American clients returning from Europe differ from the rest of the returnees to this region: they only make up less than 1% of all the returnees, since the return migration mainly consists of forced returnees from the US and Mexico. Most of them have been working there in the informal sector for several years and won’t receive financial assistance upon return. What all the returnees have in common, however, is the struggle of living with the stigma of being a criminal. This stigma arose in the period of the 1980s when the first big group of forced returnees from the US was deported to Central America. Facing great reintegration challenges, several returnees formed criminal gangs. These gangs keep many Central American countries at unrest even up until today.
- Lesson learned 2: Work experience from abroad can get certified upon return: since migration to and from Latin America is so common, several institutions have made it their goal to support the reintegration process by certifying returnees in hindsight. The Salvadorian institution Insaforn for example gives clients the opportunity to demonstrate their skills like cooking, welding, laying bricks and others. If training instructors confirm a professional execution of skills, a certificate will be issued, which can be helpful when applying for new jobs.
- Lesson learned 3: Human trafficking might have been the reason for migration: When discussing return with your Latin clients always double check if the client has been a victim of human trafficking. Please do not only consider sexual exploitation but also labor exploitation like serving as maids, dancer etc. In case of signs of human trafficking you should refer the client to a victim protection facility which will do a risk assessment. Those victim protection facilities have a global network which allows them to refer the returnee to specialized NGOs in the countries of return to ensure a safe reintegration. The network Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women has listed several members in Latin America and the Caribbean which could be helpful points of contact.
- Lesson learned 4: Return to Latin America during the Covid-19 pandemic: the return migration has increased because several people with low-paid jobs or jobs in the informal sector in the service industry lost unexpectedly their jobs. The returnee will need to prepare him or herself for a strong competition when looking for new jobs in the home countries. You can encourage the returnee to think about new business start-up ideas prior to the return.
We hope that these four points can stimulate beneficial conversations with your clients and hopefully lead to a sustainable return.
Please bear in mind that the return conditions and challenges differ greatly depending on the country of return.