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With the aim of networking and knowledge exchange, as well as raising the level of cooperation, a two-day meeting was held between advisors from Migration Service Centres (MSC) of the National Employment Service (NES), local commissioners of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia (KIRS), civil society organisations and the global programmes „Migration for Development“ (PME) and „Migration and Diaspora“ (PMD), which are implemented by GIZ within the framework of German development cooperation in Serbia.

The meeting brought together 49 participants, including representatives of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Caritas Serbia and numerous representatives of civil society organisations. They presented insights from their own work, which coincided in the fact that the application of employment measures for returnees is insufficiently represented, since returnees mostly apply for assistance in the procurement of construction materials, basic furniture or for rent payments.

One of the main topics of the meeting was the recognition of returnees as a vulnerable group in society, their registration and monitoring in order to provide the most adequate support.

Snežana Nekvasil, Head of the Department for Normative and Legal Affairs in the Sector for Unemployment Insurance and Legal Affairs of the NES Directorate, explained how NES advisors provide returnees with information on institutions they can contact upon return to the country, as well as information on regular migration, employment opportunities and continuing education abroad. She announced a planned increase in the number of MSCs as part of the Economic Migration Strategy 2021-2027.

Due to the wide range of information provided by MSC/NES advisors, especially for labour market integration and the use of all services and measures offered by the NES, they have a unique role in the migration management system, which is why the establishment of regular communication channels regarding mutual information and cooperation of MSC/NES with KIRS is crucial. In addition to this connection, it is necessary to link other actors at the local level who perform important tasks for the management of migration on their territory, and this refers primarily to the social welfare centers, Roma coordinators, pedagogical and health assistants. In its work, KIRS deals with a wide range of activities in the field of migration, including collecting and analysing data relevant to the status of returnees under the Readmission Agreement. It also adopts annual programmes for the reintegration of returnees, which are funded from the national budget, on the basis of which local self-government units (LSGUs) apply for funds to improve the position of returnees under the Readmission Agreement. The annual programme of activities to improve the position of returnees proposed and adopted by KIRS is implemented through the network of commissioners for refugees and migration in the local self-governments in accordance with the Local Action Plan on Migration.

„All efforts and achieved results of national institutions in the field of migration management become sustainable when there is cross-sectoral cooperation and knowledge exchange. On this path, the conclusions from this meeting are of great importance to us, as they provide us with guidelines for the further expansion of cooperation and the development of appropriate support measures for all our migrating citizens. In addition to the need for regular networking among these institutions, it is necessary to continuously develop and improve the software system for the registration of returnees managed by KIRS and to involve commissioners in its use, to then clearly define and recognise returnees by all institutions, to raise awareness of local institutions about returnees and their needs, to provide legal assistance and monitor returnees through state institutions, and strengthen cooperation with reintegration scouts in Germany in preparing potential returnees to return to the country“ said Marija Bogdanovic, head of global programmes PME and PMD in Serbia.

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