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The International Organization for Migration assists migrants who voluntarily return to their home countries or migrate to a receptive third country, by providing logistics/financial support.

In 1979, the German Ministry for Family, Youth and Health gave IOM the authority to implement the Reintegration and Emigration Programme for Asylum-Seekers in Germany - REAG[1]  Programme. In 1989, the programme was then complemented by the Government Assisted Repatriation Programme - GARP[2] Programme, which was initiated as a supporting measure and financed by the Ministry of the Interior. Effective from 1st January 2000, the Ministry of the Interior took over the entire responsibility for both programmes. As of 2010, the European Return Fund participates as part of the Project “Nationwide financial assistance to voluntary returnees” in the funding of the programme. The REAG/GARP-Programme is implemented by IOM on behalf of the Ministry of Interior (BMI) and the respective German Federal States’ ministries, who jointly finance the programme. The co-funding by the European Return Fund for the Project “Nationwide financial assistance to voluntary returnees” has been requested for 2013.

The REAG/GARP-programme is a humanitarian programme assisting with financial and operational support the voluntary return and migration to third countries. It offers start-up assistance for defined nationalities and serves as a steering instrument for migration movements. The migrants eligible to benefit from the programme are asylum-seekers, rejected asylum-seekers and recognized refugees as well as war and civil-war refugees, victims of forced prostitution or trafficking and other foreigners (eligible under § 1 AsylblG, the German asylum seekers’ benefit Act), as well as migrants who have been granted residence due to humanitarian or political reasons.

The application of financial assistance within the programme REAG/GARP is organized in cooperation with German authorities, welfare organizations, specialized counselling centres, central information centres for voluntary return, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). To obtain REAG/GARP assistance, the appropriate applications can only be submitted through these authorities and organizations. Nationwide IOM works together with more than 1600 German authorities.

Within the framework of the programme, the German Government grants the following types of assistance (defined in the Information booklet of REAG/GARP 2015):

  • Payment of travel costs (e.g. by plane or bus)
  • Additional travel assistance
  • Initial start-up cash to people from countries that are particularly relevant in terms of migration

Since the beginning of this programme, IOM Germany has so far assisted more than half a million people to voluntarily return to their home countries or emigrate to a third country. Further information on the programme is available from the Social Welfare or Aliens' Offices in any German city or district, the welfare organizations, specialized NGOs, central information centres for voluntary return or directly from the IOM office in Nuremberg. 

*** IOM does not support voluntary returns to Syria at this stage.***

[1] Reintegration and Emigration Programme for Asylum-Seekers in Germany 

[2] Government Assisted Repatriation Programme

Dieses Projekt wird aus Mitteln des Asyl-, Migrations- und Integrationsfonds (AMIF) der Europäischen Union, das Bundesministerium des Innern, vertreten durch das Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge sowie die Bundesländer gefördert und kofinanziert.


Please find the application forms and info sheets for REAG/GARP as well as other project materials on the information portal ReturningfromGermany.