Since 1975, IOM Thailand has worked closely with the Royal Thai Government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the embassies of resettlement countries, recognizing that third country resettlement is only one of a number of durable solutions for refugees whose well-founded fear of persecution has forced them to flee their home countries.
Since operations began, the organization has helped nearly half a million Indochinese refugees from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam to start new lives abroad. In 1980 alone, at the peak of the exodus, IOM facilitated the movement over 121,000 refugees. As the number of refugees destined for resettlement steadily declined in the 1990s, IOM also facilitated the voluntary return of nearly 90,000 to Cambodia and Viet Nam.
Since 2004, over 145,000 refugees have been resettled – 83 percent from nine temporary shelters along the Thailand-Myanmar border; 17 percent from urban areas. Today, the vast majority of refugees resettling out of Thailand originate from Myanmar. In 2021, despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, IOM assisted the resettlement of 901 refugees from Thailand.
IOM conducts medical screenings, cultural orientation and pre-departure briefing, as well as facilitates pre-departure logistics and exit formalities. The majority are resettled to the United States, while other countries, including Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, have also accepted refugees.
Australian Cultural Orientation Programme (AUSCO)
IOM Thailand is host to the AUSCO Global Office which oversees permanent AUSCO implementing and coordinating missions in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Kenya and El Salvador. AUSCO has been further delivered in Sudan and Uganda, and through mobile facilitation in more than 40 countries across Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America and also Europe.
For almost two decades, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the and the Government of Australia have worked in partnership in order to deliver pre-departure Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) training for Australia-bound refugees and humanitarian entrants. The program is funded by the Department of Home Affairs and has been delivered by IOM since 2003.
The program’s objectives are several-fold and include empowering refugees and special humanitarian program stream visa holders with information on life in Australia, whilst also encouraging language training on arrival, and equipping participants with the basic skills and necessary tools needed to deal with initial challenges experienced during their settlement journey and to reach self-sufficiency.
For more information on AUSCO, please visit this link.
Canadian Orientation Abroad
The Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) programme is a global initiative funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and implemented worldwide by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) since 1998. It is one of the organization’s flagship migrant training activities worldwide.
COA orientation is provided in over 90 countries. There are currently 15 permanent training sites abroad (many with regional coverage) and three COA management sites.
In addition to IRCC, COA has an established network of partners across Canada. They provide curriculum support, knowledge of specific migrant groups and information about their provincial or city-specific settlement agencies.
From 1998 to July 2022, over 300,000 clients participated in trainings. In Thailand, COA has been delivering orientations for refugees and migrants from 2006 to 2009, and then from 2015 to date. As of July 2022, over 7,000 participants have benefited from trainings in Thailand.
For more information on COA, please visit this link.