• English
  • Deutsch


The decision to return voluntarily is not an easy one. In order to be able to evaluate, detailed information is needed, for example about the labour market situation or about medical care. But there is often confusion about the exact circumstances in the destination country. In addition, without direct family contact within the country of origin, it is often difficult to obtain information that appears reliable.

This is where IOM's ZIRF-Counselling comes in: by providing up-to-date and locally researched information, the project supports the process of decision-making for migrants and the preparation of a possible voluntary return.

  • ZIRF-Individual requests

On behalf of those interested in­ returning, the individual requests are sent to IOM Germany. IOM offices in the respective return countries take over the research and provide case-specific answers within a few days.

Inquiries are available in the target country on the following topics:

  • Medical care
  • Labour market, education and training
  • Housing
  • Social Issues
  • Vulnerable persons.

Already answered requests are anonymized and can be viewed at the ZIRF database sorted by country.

In the case of voluntary return of unaccompanied minors (UMC), IOM can conduct a Family Assessment. In order to ensure the best interests of the child, the family and social situation of the child are carefully examined by IOM before a voluntary return. For this purpose, IOM contacts the relatives in the country of destination and visits them on site to clarify the socio-economic situation as well as their identity.

  • ZIRF-Country Fact Sheets

Currently, country information sheets on 26 return countries are available which bundle different information relevant to returning. Seven topics are covered:

  1. Health and education
  2. Housing and labour market
  3. Education and social system
  4. Direct support
  5. Children in the return process
  6. Contact information from local contacts
  7. Voluntary return checklist

The country information sheets are regularly updated and are available in German, English and in the respective national language also on the information portal Returning from Germany. Country information sheets are currently available for the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Gambia, Ghana, Georgia, Guinea, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kosovo (UNSC Resolution 1244), Lebanon, Morocco, Montenegro, Nigeria, Northern Macedonia, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey and Vietnam.

The up-to-date answers to individual requests as well as the collected country information support the individual return counselling. ZIRF-Counselling is part of the Central Office for Information Mediation for Return Promotion (ZIRF) and is financed by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) as well as by the Federal Government and the 16 Federal States.

Contact person at IOM:

Nathalie Kasparek
Tel: + 49 30 278778 46





​Please find the ZIRF forms and the info sheet on the information portal ReturningfromGermany.