IOM applies a rights-based approach to addressing the needs of migrants, particularly those impacted by conflict or natural disaster-related displacement. In line with this approach, IOM facilitates access to safe, dignified, and durable solutions to displacement. When protection services can no longer be provided in host countries, the IOM Voluntary Humanitarian Return and Reintegration (VHR) programme supports migrants to voluntarily return to their countries of origin. Services under the VHR programme are designed to provide tailored support to migrants in Libya and upon return to their countries of origin. 

The programme provides outreach services, an information hotline, individual counselling and vulnerability screening, immediate direct assistance, assistance to obtain travel documents, nationality screenings and other consular services, pre-departure health checks, departure and transportation assistance, cross referrals with other UN agencies and local and international organizations including UNHCR, coordination with countries of origin for specific assistance to returnees and victims of trafficking, and arrival and reintegration assistance. 

IOM integrates humanitarian protection in its VHR programme: VHR personnel work closely with Protection, Health assistance and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support teams to provide assistance that helps to safeguard the safety and well-being of migrants, particularly those with vulnerabilities (including unaccompanied and migrant children (UASC), the elderly and persons with medical and special needs). 

The reintegration component under the VHR programme provides support to address psychosocial needs, as well as the socioeconomic needs of all migrants who voluntarily return to their country of origin. Migrants are supported to develop Individual Reintegration Plans (IRP) that assist them to access education, medical, housing and/or income generating activities. 

Areas of Intervention


VHR outreach sessions are set up in detention centres and urban areas of Libya. Migrants are informed of IOM’s free of charge voluntary return assistance programme, including eligibility, process and timeframe. Cards with the VHR hotline number are distributed among migrants and those expressing interest are referred for registration. Outreach seminars and training are offered to migrant community leaders and other relevant stakeholders to enhance two-way communication and direct access to the programme.

Identification and Registration 

Field visits are regularly organized to identify migrants who would be interested in voluntarily returning to their countries of origin. Once interest is communicated to the VHR staff, registration to the VHR programme takes place and an interview is scheduled.

Consular Facilitation

IOM provides consular support through field visits with diplomatic representatives to detention centres, urban locations, the IOM Tripoli office or virtually with online consular sessions. Online consular support connects the migrant outside of Tripoli with their embassy representative. Online consular support is organized in close coordination with the embassy representatives (in Tripoli) and with IOM’s Mobile team (in the urban location or detention centre where the migrant to be interviewed is). The Registration team and the mobile team ensure adequate connectivity before the scheduled online sessions. 

Exit Visa Processing

IOM prepares exit visa forms and submits them on behalf of migrants once their travel documents have been received from their embassy. 

Interview and Medical Check-Ups

Screening interviews with registered migrants are conducted to learn about their migration journeys and identify vulnerable cases who might require further assistance in Libya or upon departure. Medical fit-to-travel checkups are conducted as well.

Travel Arrangements

IOM arranges free and full travel arrangements for migrants wishing to return home, using charter or commercial flights in coordination with Libyan and countries of return authorities. All COVID-9 preventive measures are respected before and during travel.

Distribution of Non-Food Items 

At the pre-departure day, packs of non-food items consisting of clothing and footwear are distributed to migrants in detention before their return flights, to assist migrants to return home in the most dignified and comfortable conditions possible.

Return Flights

Other assistance such as, food, refreshment and embarkation are provided at departure, transit and arrival.


An integrated approach to reintegration requires a holistic intervention at individual, community and structural levels. For migrants returning from Libya, the reintegration model facilitates intervention through a comprehensive approach addressing psychosocial, economic and social needs of returnees. Returned migrants are assisted with a tailored reintegration plan either independently by IOM’s receiving mission or in coordination with IOM Libya reintegration team. Upon arrival, returnees are offered counselling sessions to profile their needs and develop individual or collective reintegration plans. Then, they are provided with in-kind reintegration support to address their needs, such as support in capacity-building, medical/mental and psychosocial support or the establishment of income-generating activity. Vulnerable migrants are followed closely, while specialized reintegration assistance is offered based on identified immediate needs.