The centre was officially opened by Karim Sinjari, Minister of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, and Iman Naji Hindi, Director General in the Ministry of Migration and Displacement of the Government of Iraq.
The aim of the Family Assistance Programme, which was initiated and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, is to support family reunification applicants in Iraq with their visa application process. The centre in Erbil will be able to assist up to 30,000 Syrian and Iraqi close family members of recognized refugees already in Germany.
IOM will also distribute information materials at the centre to facilitate the integration of family reunification applicants once they arrive in Germany.
The project aims to dissuade refugee families from seeking unsafe, irregular migration channels to migrate, to support German consular staff, and to help refugees to successfully integrate in German society.
German Consul General Marc Eichhorn has high hopes for the project. “Having seen hundreds of thousands of refugees being welcomed in Germany, we are now expecting the family members who have a right to family reunification. We are convinced that the Family Assistance Programme will accelerate the visa process and therefore lead to shorter waiting times for all applicants. We strongly believe that, in IOM, we have found the perfect partner to achieve this goal,” he said.
IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss welcomed IOM’s role in assisting the Government of Germany and vulnerable migrants waiting for family reunification. “IOM promotes regular migration for the benefit of migrants as well as countries of origin, transit and destination. This centre in Erbil will provide a crucial service to ensure the safe and efficient migration of Iraqis and Syrians to Germany,” he said.
Karim Sinjari, Minister of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq noted: “The opening of this centre will have significant impact and will be helpful to raise awareness among displaced Iraqis and refugees. It will provide them with accurate information and assistance with visas to reunite them with their families in Germany. The centre will also prevent the human trafficking of vulnerable displaced people and eventually, will reduce the number of the victims trying to reach western countries. We at the Ministry of Interior fully support this project; it is very important for us.”
More information is available on the FAP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IOM.Family.Assistance.Programme/