Evaluation of the Global Assistance for Irregular Migrants Program

3 Evaluation Findings

3.1 Relevance

3.1.1 Continued Need for the GAIM Program

Finding 1: There is an ongoing need for a global voluntary return and reintegration program in order to support Canada's strategy to combat human smuggling.

Canada is a target for human smuggling, as proven by the illegal arrivals of MV Ocean Lady in 2009 and MV Sun Sea on Canadian shores within 12 months of each other.Footnote 15 In addition, documents indicate that Canada's immigration system has become a target for human smuggling operations.Footnote 16

On an international level, interviewees felt that there was an ongoing need for the GAIM program. They felt the GAIM program was an integral component of Canada's Migrant Smuggling Prevention Strategy, without which there would be little incentive for transit statesFootnote 17 to cooperate in the detection and interception of irregular migrants, especially in countries where resources are scarce and governance is weak. The GAIM program provides some assurance to transit states that they will not be solely responsible for the cost of assisting stranded migrants. The program is also a complement to the capacity-building component of Canada's overall strategy.

On a national level, interviewees identified the need for the GAIM program as a way to mitigate the increased cost to Canada associated with the arrival of irregular migrants on Canadian shores (e.g. social welfare costs). IOM interviewees specified that it is less expensive for Canada to handle irregular migration situations before migrants leave their respective countries of origin, through safe migration awareness, than in either a transit country or in Canada itself. As noted in departmental documentation, the GAIM program "responds to the need for Canada to have a permanent program to manage the consequences of disrupting human smuggling activities believed to be for Canada."Footnote 18

Interviewees felt that the GAIM program has the flexibility to adapt to changes surrounding human smuggling migration patterns. The trigger letter method provides a means to focus anti-human smuggling efforts where there is a perceived need for the GAIM program. While the program to date has only focused on West Africa and Sri Lanka, it is global in nature and the program can be implemented in any country in order to assist irregular migrants from any country of origin as long as the final destination was intended to be Canada.

3.1.2 Alignment with CIC and Government of Canada Priorities

Finding 2: The GAIM program is well aligned with both CIC and Government of Canada priorities.

Alignment with Government of Canada Priorities

Interviewees indicated that the GAIM program is aligned with government-wide priorities, most notably the Government of Canada (GoC) commitment to combat human smuggling and to protect the integrity of the immigration system. As indicated in the 2011 Speech from the Throne, the GoC committed to reintroducing legislation to combat human smuggling.Footnote 19 This commitment is reiterated in various GoC documents including press releases from the Ministers of Public Safety and CIC, and most notably Canada's Migrant Smuggling Prevention Strategy.

In addition, interviewees indicated that the GAIM program is in alignment with Canada's broader safety and security agenda. As stated by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration at a parliamentary standing committee, the GAIM program is intended to "further protect our borders and safeguard our asylum system."Footnote 20 As such, the GAIM program responds to "the need for Canada to have a permanent program to manage the consequences of disrupting human-smuggling activities believed to be destined for Canada."Footnote 21

Alignment with CIC Priorities

As noted in CIC's Report on Plans and Priorities, the GAIM program reflects CIC's role within Canada's whole-of-government strategy to combat human smuggling.Footnote 22 The GAIM program is aligned with CIC's Strategic Objective 4: Managed migration that promotes Canadian interests and protects the health, safety and security of Canadians.Footnote 23

The GAIM program demonstrates Canada's commitment to transit states and international partners that would otherwise be encumbered with the costs of unintended consequences arising from smuggling-prevention activities.Footnote 24

3.1.3 Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

Finding 3: The role of the federal government in the GAIM program is appropriate, given the international nature of human smuggling activities and the need for a national response.

As human smuggling involves the facilitation, transportation or procurement of the illegal entry of a person or persons across an international border,Footnote 25 human smuggling is a federal responsibility. On May 13, 2002, Canada signed and ratified, the United Nations Protocol Against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.Footnote 26 Within the Protocol, Article 15(3) indicates that each state "shall promote or strengthen, as appropriate, development programmes and cooperation at the national, regional and international levels..."Footnote 27

While various OGDs (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Public Safety, Canada Boarder Services Agency (CBSA), and DFATD) have important roles to play within Canada's Migrant Smuggling Prevention Strategy, CIC has the specific role of protecting the victims within the human smuggling cycle. This role has been assigned to CIC, which is similar to the department's role concerning human trafficking. The National Action Plan to Combat Human TraffickingFootnote 28 does not specify CIC as a primary lead organization; however, CIC's objectives revolve around the "protection and assistance for victims". While human trafficking and human smuggling are different issues, CIC has the precedent of providing assistance to victims.

3.2 Performance

Due to the responsive nature of the GAIM program, it was recognized from the outset of the evaluation that the assessment of program results would be limited by the number of events triggered and the program's relatively short duration.Footnote 29 As a result, the performance section is primarily focused on the response to Sri Lankan migrants in West Africa, which was first managed by DFATD, and thereafter by CIC. DFATD involvement began in January 2012 to address the situation in West Africa of a growing number of Sri Lankans stranded and in difficult conditions,Footnote 30 and the program was transitioned to CIC in May 2013. Under CIC, the program had the purpose of "supporting raised awareness of the risks involved in irregular migration in key migrant send areas of Sri Lanka... The project additionally built the capacity of national authorities in the area of border health surveillance."Footnote 31

3.2.1 Meeting Basic Needs and Providing Assistance to MigrantsFootnote 32

Finding 4: The GAIM program, delivered through the IOM, was able to effectively provide assistance in order to meet the basic needs of migrants stranded in West Africa and assist them to return to their countries of origin.

Services Provided

Services provided by the IOM include basic needs, assistance and referrals to appropriate agencies. Only migrants determined not in need of protection and those who agree to voluntary return are assisted under the GAIM program. Others, namely asylum seekers determined to be in need of protection, are settled in the transit country or another country where they have the right to reside.Footnote 33

In order to determine what services irregular migrants require, the IOM conducts a joint assessmentFootnote 34 which is intended to evaluate the status, conditions and any protection concerns of stranded migrants.Footnote 35

Services available to migrants who participate in the GAIM program include pre-departure and return assistance (e.g. flights, departure assistance service fees, visa support, travel documents, health assessments, food, accommodations, etc.), and reintegration assistance (e.g. arrival assistance and support, transport and accommodations, reintegration assistance, business skills development, etc.).

Data from the IOM and interviews indicate that, overall, the GAIM program provided emergency, pre-departure, arrival and reintegration assistance to the majority of migrants identified (see Table 5).

Table 5: Number of Identified Migrants Receiving Assistance
Assisted DFATD
Jan. 2012 - Apr. 2013
FY 2013/14
FY 2014/15
(Apr. - Sept.)
# migrants identified 569Footnote * 95Footnote ** -
# receiving emergency assistance 569 44 20
# returned to Sri Lanka 548  44Footnote *** 20
# receiving orientation/business development trainingFootnote **** 500 28 22
# completing reintegration assistance 396 132 19

Sources: IOM (2013) Final Report to Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development - Assistance to Address Irregular Migration and Smuggling in West Africa; IOM (2014) Performance Report to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Assistance to Address Irregular Migration and Smuggling in West Africa - Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR): Phase II. FY 2014/15 data was compiled from monthly IOM reports to CIC from April 2014 to September 2014.

While under DFATD, emergency assistance was given to all identified migrants through the GAIM program as services were provided whether or not the individuals indicated they planned on participating in the voluntary return program. During FY 2013/14 under CIC, emergency assistance was provided to those who had indicated they would participate in the GAIM program. A few interviewees indicated that meeting the basic needs of migrants took some time because the IOM had to wait for CIC to accept migrants into the GAIM program, and there were some blurred boundaries between migrants who accepted to return to their country of origin, and those who did not.

IOM reports provide evidence that the assistance was delivered in an appropriate fashion. Examples include the following:

  • IOM staff received a three day training in November 2012 concerning the IOM internal guidelines to ensure "the AVRR process was conducted in line with protection protocols and proper assessment and referral methods";Footnote 36 and
  • IOM Sri Lankan staff provided culturally appropriate assistance in West Africa.

The IOM also modified some assistance based on experience. For example, the IOM ceased providing cash to migrants in transit because it was felt that the money was not needed. Furthermore, returnees did not receive the in-kind assistance to set up a small business until they had developed a satisfactory business plan, with coaching from the nearest IOM office.

Migrant Satisfaction with Assistance

Migrants expressed high levels of satisfaction with the assistance received under the GAIM program (see Table 6).Footnote 37 The majority rated the IOM services in West Africa as useful and were satisfied with pre-departure and arrival services. They also found the reintegration business support to be useful or very useful and rated the IOM approval process as excellent or good.

Table 6: Migrant Feedback on IOM Assistance
  Type of assistance provided Satisfaction/Utility
Pre-departure services Travel documents 100% ranked Excellent
Translation assistance 85% ranked Excellent
Flight arrangements 90% ranked Excellent
Health examination 88% ranked Excellent
Arrival Services Airport assistance 95% ranked Excellent
Transportation assistance 98% ranked Excellent
Cash grant 87% ranked Excellent
Reintegration Assistance IOM approval process for financial support 90% ranked Excellent or Good
Utility of business support 98% ranked Very Useful or Useful

n = 285; based on questionnaires administered 1-2 months after return and 6 months after delivery of reintegration support.

Source: IOM (2013) Returning from West Africa: Reintegration of Irregular Sri Lankan Migrants. Pages 13, 14, 15, 19, 21.

3.2.2 Capacity-Building and Outreach

The GAIM program allows for the funding of activities related to providing outreach, sensitization and services on various issues while managing the consequences of an irregular migration. Responsibility for broader capacity-building to address the threat of human smuggling including support for cooperative action, tools and basic capabilities to carry out prevention remains with DFATD.

Initial capacity-building activities in West Africa were limited, focused on outreach, through workshops, meetings and brochures to provide information to government officials about the GAIM program, international migration, irregular migration and protection of migrant rights.

IOM interviewees identified improved cooperation in West Africa and Sri Lanka as well as the development of partnerships as a result of GAIM program activities. Some of these developments included the following:

  • Togo: A government working group is being launched to support multilateral cooperation and coordination.
  • Benin: An initiative to create a platform on migration in order to have a more comprehensive strategy on human smuggling and illegal migration.
  • Guinea: Improved cooperation among the police, immigration officers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Red Cross in responding to humanitarian cases. An intergovernmental committee on migration has been established and will provide an important platform for collaboration.
  • Sri Lanka: The IOM has a formalized partnership with the Ministry of Health on border health and surveillance.Footnote 38
IOM Capacity-building Activities and Potential OGD Overlap

Finding 5: While the GAIM program continued to be implemented in West Africa, capacity-building and outreach activities shifted focus from managing consequences of human smuggling to building basic capabilities. This created a potential overlap with DFATD's role of supporting foreign governments to prevent human smuggling.

In its proposal to CIC for FY 2014/15, the IOM added several activities, including an action plan to guide the mapping of the Sri Lankan community in Togo, Benin, Mali, Ghana and Cameroon, and a plan for three related anti-human smuggling capacity-building activities to help officials understand the complexities of human trafficking and human smuggling and how to respond. The three anti-human smuggling activities suggested by the IOM involved conducting country assessments in Benin, Guinea and Togo, to identify gaps and needs in counter-human smuggling; drafting proposals, based on identified gaps, to introduce legislative amendments, strengthen national training mechanisms, and improve infrastructure (e.g. border surveillance equipment in Benin, Guinea and Togo); and developing a regional training module that could be rolled-out to 10 countries in West Africa.

Descriptions of capacity-building projects put forwards by the IOM and approved by CIC in FY 2014/15 suggest, as described above, a potential for overlap with DFATD capacity-building activities. Under Canada's Migrant Smuggling Prevention Strategy, DFATD's Anti-Crime Capacity-Building program is intended to address the issue of migrant smuggling and "to prevent and respond to migrant smuggling activities and enhance cooperation with source and transit countries."Footnote 39 DFATD's capacity-building program was allocated $12M over two years (FY 2011/12 and FY 2012/13) to provide transit countries with the tools and basic capabilities needed to carry out prevention activities,Footnote 40 and an additional $1.6M was obtained in 2014.Footnote 41 The additional funding was intended for continuing IOM funding to "strengthen border security and management and train front-line law enforcement officials to combat the illicit movement of people."Footnote 42

As noted earlier, CIC's role in the anti-human smuggling process is to protect the victims of human smuggling and reintegrate them. In comparison, DFATD's role is to reinforce relationships and promote cooperation with foreign governments. Interviewees from other government departments indicated there was no consultation by CIC when these activities were proposed by the IOM and considered for inclusion in the FY 2014/15 agreement under the GAIM program.

Conversely, a few OGD interviewees felt that improved cooperation between Canada and West African countries was the result of Canada's whole-of-government approach to Canada's Migrant Smuggling Prevention Strategy (e.g. DFATD's activities), and not to the GAIM program specifically.

Transitioning Out of a Region

The shift in focus of the GAIM program in West Africa from specific to more general capacity-building activities may be a result of the decline in the number of migrants returned to Sri Lanka under the program, from 60 per month in the first 9 months of the initiative under DFATD, to a total of 64 for the entire period from May 2013 to September 2014. A few interviewees questioned whether the GAIM program was still needed in West Africa. Currently, there are no clear procedures in place to transfer monitoring activities from the GAIM program back to OGDs (e.g. DFATD) responsible for gathering intelligence on potential illegal migrant activities.

3.2.3 Awareness Activities

Finding 6: Based on the experience in West Africa, early results suggest that knowledge and awareness of irregular and safe migration has improved among those who returned to Sri Lanka.

The IOM has undertaken a number of activities to build awareness of the risks surrounding irregular migration and its consequences. The approach is not only to build awareness of the risks of irregular migration but also to "disrupt the narrative" of organizations and smugglers by providing would-be migrants with the facts about regular migration. Table 7 provides information on activities undertaken by the IOM.

Table 7: Safe Migration Awareness Activities in Sri Lanka

DFATD (Jan. 2013 - Apr. 2013)

  • Text message campaigns - reached 1.2 million people
  • Hot line - 517 calls received
  • Sensitization training - reached 2,881 persons in 12 high risk communities

CIC (FY 2013/14)

  • Text message campaigns - reached almost 4 million people
  • Hot line - 7,400 calls received
  • Sensitization training - reached 11,771 persons in 94 high risk communities
  • Train the Trainer Sessions - 330 Divisional officers and school principals
  • Theatre sessions - in 24 communities

CIC (FY 2014/15)

  • Sensitization training - to 70 women entrepreneurs
  • Theatre sessions - 9 shows to 3,400 students, teachers and community members
  • Research plan for new information campaign
  • Safe migration children's story book in 2 languages
  • Leaflets (2 languages) - 1,200 distributed at events
  • Video adverts and flash movie clips with safe migration messages
  • Community Response Map is being tested, 400 SMS received

Source: IOM monitoring reports.

IOM monthly monitoring reports indicate that the IOM began its outreach on safe migration under the DFATD program and has continued these activities as well as initiating others under the GAIM program. The IOM has taken a targeted approach, reaching out to those who are most likely to attempt irregular migration such as youth and members of high risk communities in Sri Lanka. It has employed technology, social media and theatre to deliver its safe migration message and engage in dialogue and has reached out to community leaders with training sessions to increase the reach and credibility of its messages.

Through these activities in Sri Lanka, the IOM reported reaching more than 11,000 people in awareness sessions in high risk communities, over 4 million through text messaging, delivering theatre sessions in more than 20 communities, training over 300 trainers and fielding more than 7,000 calls on its safe migration hotline.Footnote 43

IOM representatives felt that awareness of the risks of irregular migration was increasing among the target population and credited improvements to an information campaign that engages the broader population on regular and irregular migration and targets areas where there is a high risk for irregular departure. Some IOM interviewees believed an increase in calls to the migration hotline with questions about legal migration and the verification of information and individuals offering migration opportunities also indicate that awareness is growing.

The IOM examined the GAIM program returnees' levels of knowledge and awareness about irregular and safe migration, before and after their failed migration attempt. They also looked at similar factors among a group of people who had never migrated. The study concludes that returnees exhibited an improvement in their knowledge and awareness of irregular migration. For example, the IOM indicated that, of sampled returnees, only 38% were aware that their attempted "way of migrating was irregular."Footnote 44 Among those who knew their travel was irregular, less than half indicated some knowledge of the dangers and risks that could be expected (e.g. death, hunger, extortion, arrest/detention, etc.).Footnote 45

Personal experience appeared to be the major driver of the change in knowledge of risks and the need for genuine documentation. The IOM highlighted that non-migrants knew more than the returnees did before their migration, and met or exceed the returnees' current knowledge levels in several areas; but it is unclear to what extent higher education levels or stronger exposure to safe migration messages contributed to this.

3.2.4 Reintegration of Migrants to their Countries of Origin

Finding 7: Irregular migrants who returned had positive views about being reunited with family and friends, but were less positive about their financial situation upon return.

Interviewees indicated that reintegration was not a fast process and depended upon many factors, including the returnees' motivation, skill level and capacity, as well as broader factors such as community needs, availability of employment and the local economy. Interviewees further identified specifically two factors considered to be important in successful reintegration:

  • the well being of returnees, based upon having the support and acceptance of their families and communities; and
  • business and financial success, in terms of being able to sustain families and repay debts.
Perceptions of Well Being

Overall, according to IOM documentation, returnees were fairly positive about being home.Footnote 46 Most were positive about being reunited with family and friends and the majority found life in Sri Lanka better than life in West Africa. While many (69%) said that life in Sri Lanka was better than it was before their migration attempt, a small majority (53%) perceived no change in their social situation.Footnote 47 Returnees who did not manage to earn a reasonable income or who had no assets to settle debts incurred in their failed migration attempt tended to feel they were treated condescendingly; whereas those who proved themselves successful upon return felt they were treated with more respect by their families and friends.

Finding 8: For many migrants surveyed, a deterioration of the security situation or a worsening financial situation could increase the likelihood of remigration.

Perceptions of Business and Financial Success

The feedback with respect to business and financial success was mixed.Footnote 48 One of the factors affecting financial success and the life of the returnee is the financial burden of the failed migration. Some migrants sold all their belongings, used their savings and/or their families savings to finance the migration. Others borrowed money and face repayment of a major debt with interest charges.

Table 8: IOM Surveys - Financial Situation since Attempted Migration
  November 2013 November 2014
Better 39% 9%
No Change/Same 24% 17%
Worse 37% 74%

Sources: IOM (2013) Returning from West Africa: Reintegration of Irregular Sri Lankan Migrants; IOM (2014) Irregular versus Safe Migration in Sri Lanka: Results of a Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour Survey.

With respect to their financial situation, 39% perceived it to be better than it was before the attempted migration; 24% perceived no change; 37% felt it had worsened. The IOM found that only those who were very satisfied with business performance considered their financial situation to have improved.Footnote 49

A subsequent IOM report indicated that over 90% of returnees interviewed had yet to repay their debt and, when asked about their current financial situation compared to the time before the migration, 74% said it was worse; 17% said it was the same; and 9% said it was better.Footnote 50 This suggests that returnees perceived deterioration in their financial situation since what was reported in November 2013.

Likelihood of RemigrationFootnote 51

If migrants are reintegrating successfully, it is likely that they will not remigrate. While there is limited data upon which to draw conclusions based upon data received to date, it appears that remigration remains a consideration for returnees.

Table 9: IOM Surveys - Feedback on Remigration
  November 2013 November 2014
Will not migrate again 79% 35%
May migrate 21% 59%
Planning migration N/A 5%

Sources: IOM (2013) Returning from West Africa: Reintegration of Irregular Sri Lankan Migrants; IOM (2014) Irregular versus Safe Migration in Sri Lanka: Results of a Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour Survey.

The IOM found that a deterioration of the security situation or a worsening financial situation would increase the likelihood of migration among a majority of those who might consider another migration.

3.2.5 Detection, Disruption and Deterrence of Human Smuggling

Finding 9: Given security issues, there is little information available to assess the GAIM program's contribution to the detection, disruption and deterrence of human smuggling.

The detection and disruption of human smuggling operations are intelligence-based activities, requiring a high level of security, and, as such, very limited information on these activities is made publicly available. As per the Privacy ActFootnote 52and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act,Footnote 53 information does not have to be disclosed surrounding "activities suspected of constituting threats to the security of Canada".Footnote 54 As a result, little information was available and interviewees were unable to talk about the role of intelligence.

Since anti-human smuggling strategies are intelligence-led and information is therefore not widely shared, there is little data available to assess the success of initiatives related to the detection, disruption and deterrence of human smuggling activities in West Africa and Sri Lanka.

However, based on their experience in West Africa, IOM interviewees provided a few examples of how they perceived the GAIM program's contribution to detecting, disrupting and deterring human smuggling. They noted that none of the Sri Lankans identified in West Africa actually made it to Canada. They also suggested that the diminished case load of irregular Sri Lankan migrants in West Africa may be an indication that smugglers have changed routes or tactics, realizing how closely all parties are working on this issue. IOM interviewees said that when authorities in West Africa started to cooperate with the GAIM program, they began to assess the movement of Sri Lankans and this helped to identify and disrupt a network.

When the IOM analyzed migration patterns from Sri Lanka to West Africa, it found that irregular migration is believed to make up about 10% to 15% of overall migration flows and roughly 30% to 50% of entries into developed countries.Footnote 55 In 2003, the IOM estimated that human smuggling was involved in about half of irregular migration cases.Footnote 56 In the case of Sri Lanka, it is believed that human smugglers play a key role and may be responsible for a much larger fraction of irregular migration from the country. Drawing on data from interviews carried out with irregular migrants assisted between January 2012 and May 2013, the IOM found that 100% of Sri Lankan migrants stranded in West Africa who were assisted by IOM relied on so-called "agents".

3.3 Economy and Efficiency

Finding 10: While the overall expenditures for the GAIM program have been below budgeted amounts, largely due to the low number of migrants returned to their countries of origin, the budgeted amount for capacity-building and awareness raising activities increased substantially in FY 2014/15.

Actual versus Planned Expenditures

Funding of $6M over two years (FY 2013/14 and FY 2014/15)Footnote 57 was provided for the GAIM program in the fiscal framework.

As shown in Table 10, program expenditures show a significant difference from planned expenditures. In both years of the agreement with the IOM, the budget was based on estimates of 100 returned migrantsFootnote 58 (over 8 per month). As shown previously, the actual number of returned migrants was significantly lower than budgeted and expected. As a result, in FY 2013/14, direct costs (pre-departure and arrival and reintegration) were only 42% of the amounts budgeted for these expenditures. This trend has continued into FY 2014/15 where, in the first 6 months, direct costs were approximately 36% of the budgeted amounts.

Table 10: GAIM Program Budgets and Expenditures
  CIC FY 2013/14
CIC FY 2013/14
CIC FY 2014/15
FY 2014/15
(Apr. - Sept. 2014)
Total Expenditures (Apr. 2013 - Sept. 2014)
Administration $ 415,150 $ 359,642 $ 497,734 $ 156,888 $ 516,530
Program Delivery $ 2,664,689 $ 1,834,750 $ 2,486,266 $ 445,425 $ 2,280,175
Capital $ 8,000 $ 8,174 $ 1,600 $ 649 $ 8,823
Grand total $ 3,087,839 $ 2,202,566 $ 2,985,600 $ 602,962 $ 2,805,528
Program Delivery CIC FY 2013/14
CIC FY 2013/14
CIC FY 2014/15
FY 2014/15
(Apr. - Sept. 2014)
Total Expenditures (Apr. 2013 - Sept. 2014)
Direct Costs - Pre- Departure $ 251,200 $ 107,001 $ 200,450 $ 49,467 $ 156,468
Direct Costs - Arrival and Reintegration $ 870,629 $ 363,796 $ 442,046 $ 67,038 $ 430,834
Staff in West Africa $ 361,250 $ 353,577 $ 345,000 $ 118,568 $ 472,145
Reintegration Staff $ 161,000 $ 199,408 $ 190,800 $ 36,839 $ 236,247
Sri Lanka Office $ 774,110 $ 400,269 $ 402,720 $ 90,141 $ 490,410
Outreach, Coordination, Capacity-building $ 226,500 $ 387,568 $ 865,250 $ 80,789 $ 468,357
Monitoring and Evaluation $ 20,000 $ 23,131 $ 40,000 $ 2,583 $ 25,714
Total program delivery $ 2,664,689 $ 1,834,750 $ 2,486,266 $ 445,425 $ 2,280,175

Source: IOM financial claim reports.

Spending on Capacity-Building and Awareness Raising

As shown in Table 10, the budget allocated for capacity-building and awareness raising activities increased from $226,500 in FY 2013/14 to $865,250 in FY 2014/15. This represents an increase in the proportion of the budget allocated to these activities from 7% of the budget in FY 2013/14 to 29% of the budget in FY 2014/15.

In FY 2013/14, expenditures on outreach, coordination and capacity-building activities totalled $387,568 compared to a budget of $226,500. The most significant variation between budgeted amounts and expenditures were in the category of "information outreach in Sri Lanka" where actual expenditures of $199,603 were significantly higher than the budgeted amount of $70,000. As of September 2014, expenditures on outreach, coordination and capacity-building had totalled $80,789.

As mentioned previously, outreach, coordination and capacity-building activities undertaken by CIC may not be appropriate in light of program objectives as outlined in foundational documents. This was also described by interviewees, who indicated that "the responsibility for broader capacity-building" will remain with DFATD and "there will be no overlap with GAIM activities". In its proposal for FY 2014/15, the IOM identified several projects for three related anti-human smuggling capacity-building activities to help officials understand the complexities of human trafficking and human smuggling, and how to respond.

Finding 11: Amounts budgeted and direct costs of returns and reintegration assistance under the GAIM program are comparable to similar programs offered by other countries. However, when taking into account both direct and indirect costs, overall costs per returnee for the GAIM program were higher than those under the DFATD program, likely due to the lower number of migrants assisted.

Comparison to Other AVRR Programs

The evaluation compared the design of the GAIM program to three similar AVRR programs: Voluntary Return Support and Reintegration Assistance for Bali Process Members States; the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme in the United Kingdom; and the CBSA AVRR Pilot. The GAIM program is the only program that provides emergency support (food, accommodation and incidentals, at an average cost of $937 per returnee). Only the GAIM program and the Bali Process AVRR provide medical care. Because the other two programs operate in a destination country, these needs would be met outside the AVRR program. The GAIM program and the United Kingdom AVRR have significantly higher amounts budgeted for reintegration: up to $6,800 for the GAIM program and £4,000 (approximately $7,500 CAD) for the United Kingdom AVRR, compared to a range of $200 to $2,000 for the other programs.

The evaluation of the CBSA Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Pilot ProjectFootnote 59 also undertook an international comparison to benchmark the cost of their program against AVRR programs offered by other countries. As shown in Table 11, the GAIM program's direct cost of return (flights, departure assistance service fees, visa support and travel documents, health assessments and medical referrals) excluding emergency support (not provided under the other programs) is comparable to that of the other programs. The average cost for the other six programs is $1,868 compared to $1,508 for the GAIM program.

Table 11: Comparison to Other Programs - Cost per Departure (CAD$)
Country Direct Cost of Return Reintegration Assistance (budgeted amounts) Total
    Low end High end Low end High end
GAIM $1,508Footnote *†  $3,550Footnote **†  $6,800Footnote ***†  $ 5,058 $ 8,308
Belgium $2,175 $ 609 $1,914 $ 2,784 $ 4,089
Canada (CBSA) $1,376Footnote ****†  $ 500 $2,000 $ 1,876 $ 3,376
Germany $1,789 $ 424 $1,059 $ 2,213 $ 2,848
Norway $2,258 $2,084 $7,643 $ 4,342 $ 9,901
Sweden $1,175 $3,233 $6,367 $ 4,408 $ 7,542
United Kingdom $2,437 $2,417 $3,223 $ 4,854 $ 5,660

Source: Canada, CBSA (2014) Evaluation of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Pilot Program.

The GAIM program's budgeted amount for reintegration assistance is higher than most of the other programs, with the exception of the programs offered in the United Kingdom and Norway. This is the result of differences in the supports provided under the reintegration assistance programs. The GAIM program, the UK and the Norway programs all provided more substantial reintegration assistance than other programs. As information was not available on the outcomes of the other AVRR programs, the evaluation was not able to determine the degree to which the additional expenditures result in better outcomes (i.e., more positive reintegration outcomes or a decrease in the likelihood of subsequent attempts at illegal migration).

Total Costs per Returnee

As shown in Table 12, while direct cost per returnee over the full period from April 2013 to September 2014 ($9,177) is in line with the target established in the GAIM program Performance Measurement Strategy,Footnote 60 total cost per returnee ($43,836) is significantly higher than the average cost and the cost per returnee under the DFATD program ($14,599). In addition to high outreach and capacity-building costs ($7,720 per returnee), it is likely that IOM offices and staffing levels ($18,731 per returnee) are designed to handle a much larger number of migrants. Some adjustments appear to have been made in FY 2014/15 as evidenced by lower per returnee costs in most categories. If volumes remain low, then even without outreach and capacity-building activities, the program can expect high costs per returnee.

Table 12: Program Costs per Returnee
  Jan. 2012 - Apr. 2013 FY 2013/14 FY 2014/15 (Apr.-Sept.) Average Cost
Direct Costs - pre-departure -- $2,432 $2,473 $2,445
Direct Costs - arrival and reintegration -- $8,460 $3,352 $6,732
Total Direct Costs -- $10,892 $5,825 $9,177
Staff and Office Costs -- $21,665 $12,277 $18,731
Outreach, Coordination, Capacity-building and Monitoring and Evaluation -- $9,334 $4,169 $7,720
Program Delivery -- $41,699 $22,271 $35,628
Total Costs $14,599 $50,058 $30,148 $43,836

Note: DFATD program cost is based on total expenditures of $8M to return 548 migrants. Calculations for FY 2013/14 and 2014/15 are based on 44 and 20 returnees, respectively. Program Delivery is based on direct costs, staff and office costs, and outreach and capacity-building. Total costs are program delivery costs plus administration and capital.

Source: IOM financial claim reports.

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