The government, in collaboration with the North Rhine-Westphalia state in Germany, European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), has launched the Migration Information Centre for Returnees (MICR) at the Kotoka International Airport.
The project will be implemented by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) and provide first-hand information on opportunities, government programmes and services available in Ghana to returnees.
Returnees will also be advised on available reintegration initiatives and livelihood support programmes being put in place by government and other supporting agencies to help their reestablishment processes.
The project is in two phases: The first phase being setting up the MICR with a special focus on building capacities in the Ghana Immigration Service with regard to reception of returnees. The second phase will look into additional capacity-building and adding on a specific component of bringing together all key reintegration actors active in the country.
In a keynote address delivered on his behalf, the Interior Minister, Ambrose Derry , he said that his outfit was optimistic that the project will meet its objectives.
“This project has been initiated with the objective of increasing the Ghanaian administration’s ownership in coordinating the reception of returnees, as well as ensuring the quality of reintegration services offered to returning migrants. The centre has been set up and I am aware that a good number of officers have been trained in counselling and other areas to effectively discharge their duties,” he said.
According to him, the project has come at a time when there are several efforts to reduce the illegal movement of Ghanaians to European countries, and congratulated the German government for its contribution.
“Our government and relevant agencies have emphasised the need for adopting a comprehensive approach in the fight against illegal migration. The government of Ghana applauds the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the Ministry for Children, Family, Refugees and Integration of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia as the Project lead for putting its priorities within the efforts of Ghana Immigration Service in facilitating a dignified return and sustainable reintegration of returnees into our communities,” he added.
Minister for Children, Family, Refugees and Integration – and Deputy Prime Minister for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Dr. Joachim Stamp, for his part noted that the idea to establish the MICR came up during an administrative exchange between Ghana and North Rhine-Westphalia in 2018/2019 as one element of the partnership between the two countries.
“This demonstrates again the importance and benefits of personal exchanges, and of dialogue as well as the mutual openness to new impressions, experiences and views. For this reason, we will be pleased to continue on this road together with Ghana,” he said.