An educational training two days meeting was held in Madrid Spain on 4‐5 of June 2014. The meeting was hosted by Regional Government of Madrid ‐ DG INMIGRASION, project’s collaborators.

At those meetings, they were present five delegates from Cypriot Public and Voluntary organisations and forty nine (49) representatives from the main government, regional government, embassies, local authorities and NGOs that are working in the area of Migration and Assisted Voluntary Return.


Participants Feedback and Contribution

The project team received a good feedback from the participants on how to further improve VRENET, and possible roles that can also play for the case of Spain. Starting from the outcomes of the visit, we can draw the following general conclusions:

Spanish interpretation on Migration

The Spanish State, for all migrants (including European and Third Country Nationals), has undertaken the perception that they are “newcomers”. Under this perspective it attempts to organize a social inclusive model and relatively policies. The philosophy is to treat the immigrant as a person of value, who has the same rights as well as obligations as a Spanish citizen. Currently there is a rapid increase trend on the migration flow. In particular, for the regional State of Madrid, according to the latest census, the percentage of migrants reaches the 14% of the population.

Regional Government of Madrid (RGM) is considered as a pioneer in integration policies, while there is a close and constant collaboration among the regional government and the NGOs.  RGM provide the necessary resources to several NGOs to support the integration of migrants through a number of different activities, while for those who they would decide to return back to their Country of Origin, RGM offers them alternative solutions under specific criteria (Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes).

Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes (AVRs) 

AVRs are financed by the General Secretary of Immigration and Emigration, as well as by the European Return fund. The management is entrusted to the NGO’s and international organisations. Currently, it offered to them three types of Assisted Voluntary Return:                                                               

The Action is co‐funded by the European Returns Fund (95%) and the Republic of Cyprus (5%).

  1. Voluntary Return: This option is available to regular and irregular migrants. The applicant will receive the plane tickets, pocket money for the airport. They are also given resettlement money The applicant has the obligation of not returning back to Spain within 3 years from the time of leaving.  
  2. Productive Voluntary Return: The return is combined to the provision of non‐formal training prior to leaving the country. The applicant in collaboration with the training mentors submits a business plan, which will be examined by the Ministry and if succeed, the applicant will receive a grant to start up their business. This option is available only to regular migrants. The cost is covered by the Spanish State. The applicant has the obligation of not returning back to Spain within 3 years from the time of leaving. 
  3. Utilisation of unemployment benefit for supporting Voluntary Return: The case refers only to legal migrants who had a job in the previous years and now they have become unemployed and are eligible of receiving relative benefits. In such case, an applicant may apply to return back to their Country of Origin and they receive a percentage of 40% of the unemployment benefit in Spain and are given the remaining 60% upon return.

Closed Centres for Rejected Applicants

Currently there are not any closed centres for rejected applicants. The illegal groups can stay in Spain, however they cannot utilise any public resources. Following a period of two years they can re‐apply, however they have to attend a number of courses to become competent to be employed.

Information Centres for Migrants (CEPI)

Many local authorities operate information centres in which a number of additional activities are provided to both legal and irregular migrants. Information is provided for the services they can utilise, they receive non‐formal education and they can learn Spanish free of charge. It is also the place in which irregular migrants can receive information about the above alternative solutions they have.

Additional information