Press Release

Third National Referral Mechanism to aid Returnee Reintegration Opens in Iraq

04 April 2024

Sulaymaniyah, IRAQ, March 31: In a significant step towards assisting Iraqi returnees to rebuild their lives, the third National Referral Mechanism (NRM) was opened in the governorate of Sulaymaniyah, following establishment of the ones in Baghdad and Erbil in December 2022. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq has been supporting the Government of Iraq with the roll out of NRMs to provide adequate reintegration services such as employment opportunities, vocational training, housing assistance, protection, and legal services and more. These initiatives are part of the Government of Netherland’s support to enhance capacities on migration governance under the Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships to Achieve Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS) project.

The Government of Sulaymaniyah, represented by Governor H. E. Dr. Haval Abubakir and Director General of the Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCC), Ms. Srwa Rasul, inaugurated the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for Returnee Reintegration on March 31st.

Operated by the Displacement and Migration Coordination Committee for Iraq (DMCR), the NRM aims to facilitate the reintegration process for Iraqi returnees by providing access to a range of essential services and is fully supported and operationalized by the government. NRM works by connecting returnees with relevant ministries and non-governmental organizations, and its key features include: free and confidential services for all returnees from abroad; individual counseling and referrals to service providers; follow-up on the reintegration process and support letters; assistance in small business setup, job placement, vocational and educational training, housing, legal matters, protection, medical and mental health support, and enrollment support for children in schools.

"This project bridges the returnees’ reintegration with society, facilitating integration by providing legal procedures, health services, and support for small businesses,” said Governor of Sulaymaniyah, Dr. Haval Abubakir, emphasizing the importance of cooperation in facilitating safe and dignified returns, readmissions, and sustainable reintegration.

The NRM marks a pivotal step in the national management strategy of migration in Iraq, connecting governmental and non-governmental partners to assess the individual needs of returnees and expedite their reintegration process. Caseworkers will confidentially discuss returnees' situations, needs, experiences, and skills to provide tailored support.

"Returning home after many years can be difficult, and finding a way to contribute to society is challenging,” says Myra de Vries, First Secretary Stabilisation Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands Embassy in Iraq. “This project aims to ease this transition and provide necessary support".

With funding and support from the Government of the Netherlands, the establishment of the NRM in Sulaymaniyah underscores the commitment to facilitating safe and dignified return and readmission, as well as sustainable reintegration. As the first initiative of its kind in Sulaymaniyah, the NRM sets a precedent for future endeavors aimed at easing the transition for returning migrants and ensuring their successful integration into their communities. Since 2010, IOM has been supporting national authorities in Sulaymaniyah in migration management, combatting irregular migration, trafficking, and smuggling of persons, and providing technical assistance.

 IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit

IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit


UN entities involved in this initiative

International Organization for Migration

Goals we are supporting through this initiative