IOM is continuing implementation of the second phase of the More for More Project, which will be referred to as SBMMG. In this regard the project webpage and the project facebook page (currently More for More) will undergo rebranding.​

 
 
 
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Georgia Continues to be Transit Route of Irregular Migration to Europe

Recently, two Bangladeshi migrants were found dead in the snow close to the Georgian-Turkish border. According to the account of another Bangladeshi  migrant who survived the ordeal, they had been taken to the border by a smuggler in an attempt to make it into Turkey. This tragic event is not the first of its kind and speaks for the utter cynicism with which smugglers expose their human cargo to the perils of Georgian winter weather in high-altitude areas.

The Georgian TV station “Imedi” aired . In the past couple of months, according to news posted by the Georgian Border Police, 4 groups involving 11 citizens of Bangladesh, 4 from Uzbekistan and 2 Sri-Lankans were arrested by the Georgian authorities when they attempted to cross illegally into Turkey in the high-altitude region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Citizens of Georgia and Turkey were arrested as well, which points to the likelihood that these irregular movements across the border are not spontaneous, but rather organized by smuggling rings.

IOM continues to provide capacity building support to the Georgian authorities on the combat of smuggling of migrants. This long-standing commitment has been made possible thanks to generous funding made available by the EU for the project “Sustaining Border Management and Migration Governance in Georgia (SBMMG)”.
      
 

 
Georgian Government Prioritizes Legal Labour Migration Schemes to the EU
1 March 2018
On 1 March, the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia and IOM signed a bilateral memorandum of cooperation on the promotion of regular labour migration schemes from Georgia to European countries. This memorandum is a clear signal that the Georgian authorities have started recognizing the importance of legal labour migration opportunities for citizens of Georgia, in particular to EU countries in the Schengen zone where Georgians have been able to travel to over the past years without a visa, however, not for employment-related purposes.
 
Over the past few years, IOM has been promoting official ties with Poland on the deployment of skilled labour force from Georgia. As the pilot phase of this engagement has been successfully concluded, IOM is now keen to engage the Georgian authorities in broadening the scope of labour migration schemes towards other EU member states and giving an increasing number of citizens of Georgia the opportunity to work temporarily in the EU on a perfectly legal basis.
 
This bilateral cooperation will entail a range of capacity building events for the Ministry’s staff members, in particular for the social agents working for the Social Service Agency on employment-related issues. All activities will be funded from the EU-funded SBMMG project, which got underway in November last year and last until November 2020.

For more media coverage visit:


      
 

 
EU Continues to Support Sustainable Return of Stranded Migrants
On 17 November 2017 IOM started the EU-funded project “Sustaining Border Management and Migration Governance in Georgia” (SBMMG). As part of this multi-faceted initiative, IOM continues offering assistance for migrants in need to return voluntarily to their home countries.

In the first 2 months of this project, IOM already assisted 15 migrants with voluntary return, which underlines the strong demand among foreigners in Georgia for assistance to get back home. Among those assisted was a family of 6 from Uzbekistan, who, despite their legal status in Georgia as recognized refugees, decided to go back to their native country for lack of economic opportunities in Georgia. IOM also cooperated with the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia in assisting 3 stranded migrants (from India and Guinea) who were detained by the authorities for undocumented stay in the country.

Among those 15 returnees, 11 have applied for reintegration assistance administered by IOM officers in their home countries. This support is expected to contribute to a sustainable return and will help the individuals to get back on their feet.

This return programme operated by IOM receives generous support from the European Union.
      
 

 
SBMMG's First Migration Governance Workshop
​5 - 7 December 2017
On 5 – 7 December 2017 IOM, jointly with the State Commission on Migration Issues (SCMI) Secretariat, organized a seminar on the analysis of migration data and other principles of good governance in migration management. The seminar was led by Jon Simmons of the UK Home Office and focused on standards and practices of data integration and data quality for migration analysis. The highlight of the seminar was a discussion and experience sharing focusing on the Unified Migration Analysis System (UMAS) developed by the Public Service Development Agency and other migration management bodies, with financial support of the EU. The expert also dwelled on UK’s migration system, spoke about integration framework and indicators and discussed with representatives of all relevant line ministries various issues, such as operational, policy and academic knowledge systems and planning and disseminating policy research.

The seminar was hosted by the SCMI Secretariat and was organized as part of the EU-funded project “Sustaining Border Management and Migration Governance in Georgia (SBMMG)”. The project will be implemented by IOM in the period 2017 – 2020.
      
 

 
Law Enforcement Officers and Social Workers Gather in Batumi to Discuss Sexual Exploitation of Children
​10 - 12 October 2017
From 10 to 12 October, Georgian law enforcement and social workers gathered in Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast to discuss trafficking in children for sexual exploitation. A child care expert from Austria and a policing specialist from the United Kingdom came down to Batumi to share their experience with their Georgian peers. One session was dedicated to the most recent trends of exploitation taking place through the Internet and the way criminals approach vulnerable children by means of the latest technical applications to entice them into sexual acts.

Police officers from the Criminal Police Department and from regional police headquarters in Ajara, Kakheti, Shida Kartli and Samegrelo exchanged views with prosecutors and child care workers from the Social Service Agency and Georgia’s trafficking victim protection agency on how to coordinate anti-trafficking policies and improve inter-agency cooperation.

This training is part of the project “Combating Trafficking in Persons in Georgia and Addressing the Demand Side of Trafficking”, which is funded by the International Bureau for Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) of the US State Department.
      
 

 
French Expertise in Georgia to Share Experience on Combating Drug Trafficking
​28 June 2017
In close cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of Georgia and the French Embassy to Georgia, IOM has been pleased to organize a conference on 28 June highlighting the “International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”. Two experts from France, who have vast experience in monitoring and researching the law enforcement aspects of drug trafficking and abuse, were invited to make detailed presentations and share their expertise with their Georgian peers from various ministries and agencies.

Other French experts from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, based in Lisbon, joined the conference through video link.

This conference was supported thanks to the generous contribution of the EU to IOM’s More for More project.

 
      
 

 
IOM Conducts Interviewing Skills Training for Patrol Police in Tbilisi
​19 - 22 June 2017
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM delivered four one day training courses for Patrol Police officers based at various Georgian border checkpoints.  The training was specifically requested by the Patrol Police in recognition of the recent recruitment of new officers and also the need for existing officers to refresh their skills.  A wide range of issues were covered including frontline and second tier interviewing skills.  The ever changing dynamics of persons arriving at Georgian borders means that officers need to update their language skills as well as their awareness of specific country profiles.  As part of the training officers were provided with training on the use of targeted interviewing using risk analysis tools.  Practical sessions concluded each day allowing participants the chance to practice their skills and discuss the differing challenges faced at air, land and rail crossing points.  The first day was particularly useful in that it provided 24 newly recruited officers the opportunity to discuss international best practice when interviewing at border checkpoints with IOM’s Integrated Border Management Specialist based in Tbilisi.  In total 54 Patrol Police officers took part in the training which took place at the Academy of the Georgian Ministry of Interior.         
      
 

 
A Delegation from the State Migration Service of Azerbaijan Visits Georgia
​6 - 7 June 2017
On 6 and 7 June a delegation of the State Migration Service of Azerbaijan visited Georgia to foster bilateral ties in the management of migration. The delegation visited several Georgian state bodies (the Secretariat to the State Commission on Migration Issues, the Public Services Development Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs) for detailed briefings on Georgia’s achievements in the area of migration management.

Key topics of discussion were readmission, combating irregular migration, mutual exchange of information on each other’s citizens staying irregularly on the territory of either country, detention and return of irregular migrants and e-governance. Both sides agreed on the need to intensify bilateral cooperation and IOM expressed the wish to continue facilitating this process. 

This visit took place as part of the More for More project funded by the European Union.

 For further information you can also check
      
 

 
IOM Conducts Smuggling of Migrants Training for Georgian Law Enforcement Bodies in Akhlatsikhe
​5 – 7 June 2017    
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM delivered training this week IOM delivered training to Border Police, Patrol Police and Central Criminal Police officers in Akhaltsikhe.  The location of the training was specifically chosen as many of the irregular border crossings from Georgia into Turkey (and to a lesser extent in the opposite direction) take place in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region.  The training course included the Georgian laws on smuggling of migrants, the indicators for effectively identifying smuggled migrants and smugglers as well as taking account of the broader regional context and international situation.  The group of 20 officers also participated in practical exercises that highlighted the necessity for cross-border information sharing and the role of intelligence-led policing in crime prevention.

The volume of smuggling of migrants across the border from Georgia to Turkey has certainly diminished from its peak in the fourth quarter of 2015 but it remains clear that Georgia is a transit target for organized criminals, who channel migrants from origin countries in Asia and Africa to Turkey. Georgia’s relaxed admission policies remain a facilitating factor and additionally organized smugglers are aware that law enforcement capacities in Georgia are often not sufficient to get to grips with the international networks behind international smuggling operations.  It remains the case in Georgia that successful prosecutions of migrants for illegal crossing of the state border massively outnumber successful prosecutions of organized migrant smugglers.  IOM will continue to press for a change in emphasis such that organized criminals are the main focus for law enforcement rather than the often desperate and vulnerable migrants.
      
 

 
Ministry of Interior's Academy and Patrol Police Benefit from Procurement under EU-funded Project
On 15 May IOM provided the Patrol Police of Georgia with 50 hand held devices to improve document examination capacity at frontline border checkpoints. The devices provide magnification capacity as well as a selection of light sources to detect fraud. Seventeen of these devices will be used at the arrivals control at the new terminal at Tbilisi International Airport. The rest will be distributed to Patrol Police at key checkpoints such as Sarpi, Red Bridge and Sadakhlo. 

The handover took place at Tbilisi International Airport in the presence of the Director of the Patrol Police, Goga Razmadze. On 24 May IOM provided more document examination equipment to the Academy of the Ministry of Interior. The equipment consisted of the same hand-held first-line inspection devices provided to the Patrol Police as well as desktop instruments for more thorough inspection of suspicious documents in a second-line setting. This equipment will boost the capacity of the Academy to train future border control inspectors and also offer targeted re-training for existing Patrol and Border Police officers. 

This procurement will also help the Academy to offer in-depth, high-quality courses on document examination for representatives of other ministries that have a role to play in the management of immigration and the borders of Georgia. Improved inter-ministerial coordination in the field of document examination is one of the key objectives that IOM has been pursuing over the past few years under the EU-funded More for More project. As well as presenting the Academy with the aforementioned equipment, IOM also handed over equipment for the Academy’s printing house.

The EU-funded More for More project will finish on 10 July.
      
 

 
Retreat to Finalize the Risk Analysis Methodological Manual for Border Management
18 - 19 May 2017     
From 18-19 May 2017 and under the EU-funded More for More project 2013-2017 IOM facilitated a retreat at the Ambassadori Hotel in Kachreti for key government stakeholders from the Ministry of Interior. The aim was to pull together representatives from, inter alia, the Info-Analytical Department, Border Police, Patrol Police and Migration Department as well as legal advisors from the Ministry to review and finalise the Risk Analysis Methodological Manual. This manual is the culmination of work carried out under the guidance of Polish expert identified by IOM in 2014 and who has been supporting the development of risk analysis capacity in border management in Georgia since that time. Further support for the Ministry of Interior in this area will be provided by the EU under the forthcoming More for More project 2017-2020.
      
 

 
Project Partners and Embassies of EU Member States Meet to Discuss Project Implementation
4 May 2017     
On 4 May Georgian government agencies responsible for migration management and representatives from 12 embassies of EU Member States and Switzerland met in the Public Service Hall in Tbilisi to discuss progress made in the implementation of the More for More project.

This meeting was the 9th in a series of project coordination meeting that IOM and ICMPD have been facilitating since the beginning of 2014. The opportunity was used to present comprehensive information on what has been achieved, thanks in particular to the intensive involvement of subject matter experts from many EU Member States. The meeting also focused on the achievement of obtaining visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia and what this means for Georgia’s opportunities for further integration with European institutions.

The current More for More project will end in July 2017.
      
 

 
IOM Provides Training on Foster & Freeman VSC-40 Document Examination Equipment for the Patrol Police of Georgia
24 - 28 April 2017     
Under the EU funded More for More project IOM delivered 10 VSC40HD/FS units to the Patrol Police of Georgia in December 2016. The units are manufactured by Foster & Freeman in the United Kingdom specifically for secondary level document examination and have been installed at 10 Georgian border checkpoints: at the three international airports in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi, Larsi border with the Russian Federation, Sadakhlo border with Armenia, Red Bridge, Lagodekhi and Vakhtangisi borders with Azerbaijan and Sarpi and Kartsakhi borders with Turkey. 

In December there was training by the manufacturer of the equipment and this was followed-up from 24-28 April 2017 at Tbilisi International Airport by end-user training by Gunta Laganovska from the Latvia Border Guard’s Document Expertise Centre.  In total 14 Patrol Police Officers from a variety of border checkpoints received training to significantly enhance their understanding of how to maximize the potential of the equipment. 
      
 

 
IOM Provides Presentational Skills Training for the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia 
19 - 21 April 2017     
With European Union funding under the “More for More” project and at the request of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia (MRA), IOM trained 7 officials in Presentational Skills from 19-21 April 2017 at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Tbilisi. Those in attendance included officials from the quality control and legal departments of the Ministry as well as those engaged in decision making. The 3-day training course was designed to assist those who required to make presentations on behalf of the Ministry to external audiences but also as a platform for those who are increasingly engaged in training within the Ministry. The training course is designed to be as practical as possible in pursuit of the goal of delivering effective presentations.  As such the training course provides the opportunity to not only receive suggestions and tips on common pitfalls in delivering training and presentations but also the opportunity for all seven officials to make two presentations each and to be filmed in doing so.  In expressing thanks to IOM upon completion of the course, Irine Giorgadze, Arabic specialist from the MRA made the following comments: “These three days were extremely interesting and beneficial for us. In light of IOM’s previous training for us under the project we had high expectations and we haven’t been disappointed.  We sincerely appreciate all the guidance and constructive criticism provided and feel much more prepared to further improve our presentational skills.”
      
 

 
IOM Invites Senior Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute for Consulation Meetings in Georgia on the Topic of Migration and Development
5 - 10 April 2017     
In the period 5 - 10 April IOM invited Ms. Kathleen Newland, the Senior Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute to discuss with the targeted state agencies, representatives of private sector and NGOs active in the field, Georgia's potential to utilize migration for development. The issues addressed during the visit included remittances, working closely with diaspora and facilitating (circular) regular labour migration. Based on the recommendations and country-specific conclusions formulated by Ms. Newland during her visit, the invovled state agencies will be able to identify specific activities in the field of migration and development to be reflected in the Action Plan of 2016 - 2020 Migration Strategy. The visit took placed under the EU-funded More for More project and was organized in close cooperation with the State Commission on Migration Issues.
      
 

 

22 - 23 March 2017     
IOM hosted a border management conference in Tbilisi from 22-23 March to mark the drawing to an end of the 2013-2017 EU-funded More for More project. The project has served to assist the Government of Georgia in meeting its Visa Liberalization Action Plan targets and the conference took place less than a week before Georgian citizens begin to enjoy visa free travel to the Schengen area.  The conference included opening speeches from the Director of the Patrol Police, the Deputy Head of the Border Police and the Head of Customs and attracted significant media coverage.  Invited guest speakers travelled from Austria, the Netherlands, Latvia, Moldova, Turkey and the U.K.  There were also representatives present from embassies in Georgia and the region. Government of Georgia representatives came from a wide range of project partners including the State Security and Crisis Management Council and the State Commission on Migration Issues. It was an opportunity to both reflect on the concluding project but also to look forward to the new EU-funded border and migration management project scheduled to begin in the summer.

One topical new area of engagement in Georgia is developing the use of Advanced Passenger Information and the analysis of Passenger Name Records and there were active discussions around this topic with the guest speaker from the U.K.’s National Border Targeting Centre in Manchester.  Additional subjects discussed included the challenges posed by Foreign Terrorist Fighters at borders, smuggling and trafficking of persons in busy airports and the ongoing reforms taking place in the Georgian Border Police.  As a finale to the proceedings the foreign guests were taken to the Sadakhlo border checkpoint with Armenia to see the work of the Revenue Service and the Patrol Police at first hand. 
      
 

 

17 March 2017     
Border Donor Coordination meeting was held today. The meeting which was coordinated by International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funded by EU, was in attendance of deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Shalva Khutsishvili, Head of the Border Police Dato Nikoleishvili, as well as representatives from the US Embassy’s DTRA and EXBS programs, IOM, UNDP, EU Delegation to Georgia, NATO-Georgia PDP, Embassy of the Republic of Latvia, MIA International Relations Department and Border Police of Georgia. The present donor community is engaged in border management, carrying out different projects. The meeting was coordinated for better coordination and constant communication between partner organizations. The Border Police review implemented projects and touched upon future development priorities.​
      
 

 
Polish Expert Conducts Training of Trainers on Risk Analysis
13 - 24 February 2017     
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM has invested significantly in supporting the development of the Risk Analysis Unit at the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior.  Karol Turzyński made his fourth visit under the project in February 2017 to provide a Training of Trainers course for selected officers from the Ministry of Interior.  Representatives attending the two-week course came from the Info-Analytical Department of the Ministry of Interior, the Border Police, the Patrol Police and the Academy of the Ministry of Interior. 

Topics in week one included the Risk Analysis Model, Data Flows in Border Management, Operational Risk Analysis and Strategic Risk Analysis.  Week two covered Analysis and Reporting Techniques.  In launching the training course Ms. Tatia Salukvadze, from the International Relations Department of the Ministry of Interior, welcomed the course as an important step towards the development of a comprehensive curriculum in this developing approach to tackling the challenges of border management.  She also took time to welcome Lieutenant Commander Turzyński expressing the gratitude of the Ministry for his vital ongoing support.
      
 

 
European Union Provides Over 9.5 Million GEL of Equipment to Improve Security Along the Georgian-Turkish Border
1 February 2017     
On 1 February 2017 the European Union Director-General Christian Danielsson handed over border surveillance equipment worth over 9.5 Million GEL (3.4 Million EUR) to the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs.  The donation included sizeable quantities of communication, surveillance and detection equipment for the strengthening of Georgia’s capabilities of guarding the green border with Turkey.

The support comes as part of the EU-funded “Reinforcing the Capacities of the Government of Georgia in Border and Migration Management” project, which has been implemented by IOM. The specialized equipment purchased contains, among other items, watch towers that are currently being constructed along the Georgian-Turkish border. Once fully in place, these towers will be equipped with various types of surveillance equipment and linked to equipment that will detect any sort of irregular movement across the green border.

 The expectation is that the equipment purchased will be fully operational from June 2017 onwards. The end-user of those products will be the Border Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. The Border Police staff deployed in the Ajara and Samtskhe-Javakheti provinces are currently going through extensive rounds of training to learn how to use the equipment professionally and manage it in full consistency with Georgia’s Integrated Border Management policies.
      
 

 
New Publication on Counter-Trafficking Released
Over the last half decade, IOM has implemented many counter-trafficking actions in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Although there have been major improvements in efforts to combat trafficking in human beings (THB) within these countries, as the modes of operation of traffickers continue to evolve, States need to ensure that interventions continue to address the needs of victims on the ground while at the same time focusing on targeted capacity-building of law enforcement.

Therefore, at the end of 2015, IOM undertook a project funded by the IOM Development Fund to improve planned THB interventions in the countries in the South Caucasus by making available a comprehensive assessment of the overall THB situation in each country. 

 As a result of this initiative, three separate national country reports for Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan were produced in June 2016. The country report for Georgia can be downloaded .
      
 

 

19 – 21 December 2016     
Under the EU-funded More for More project, this week IOM delivered training in Tbilisi to prosecutors, Central Criminal Police officers,  Revenue Service officers and officers from the Border Police on effective methods of investigating the crime of smuggling of migrants. The group of 18 benefited from theoretical training and accompanying practical exercises to enhance their appreciation of how organized smuggling of migrants can be combated in an effective manner.  Topics included distinguishing trafficking in persons from smuggling of migrants, cross-border information sharing and the role of intelligence-led policing in crime prevention.

While the volume of smuggling of migrants across the border from Georgia to Turkey has diminished from its peak in the fourth quarter of 2015 it is a clear that Georgia remains a transit target for organized criminals, who channel migrants from origin countries in Asia and Africa to Turkey. Georgia’s relaxed admission policies remain a facilitating factor and additionally organized smugglers are aware that law enforcement capacities in Georgia are often not sufficient to get to grips with the international networks behind international smuggling operations.  It remains the case in Georgia that successful prosecutions of migrants for illegal crossing of the state border massively outnumber successful prosecutions of organized migrant smugglers.  IOM will continue to press for a change in emphasis such that organized criminals are the main focus for law enforcement rather than the often desperate and vulnerable migrants.
      
 

 

12 - 14 December 2016
Under the EU funded More for More project IOM this week delivered 10 VSC40HD/FS units to the Patrol Police of Georgia.  The units are manufactured by Foster & Freeman in the United Kingdom specifically for secondary level document examination and will be deployed at 10 Georgian border checkpoints.  The equipment will shortly be installed at the three international airports in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi, Larsi border with the Russian Federation, Sadakhlo border with Armenia, Red Bridge, Lagodekhi and Vakhtangisi borders with Azerbaijan and Sarpi and Kartsakhi borders with Turkey.  This investment, amounting to approximately 185,000 Euros, will provide a massive upgrade to secondary level document examination capacity at the aforementioned borders.  IOM facilitated a two-day training course for end users by Mr. Owen Lang from Foster & Freeman and will provide further training support in the coming weeks and months to ensure that the units are used to their maximum capacity.  Mr. Goga Razmadze, Director of the Patrol Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia attended the handover and launch of the training and expressed his gratitude to the EU and IOM, commenting that “the equipment will greatly assist the Patrol Police to be more effective in preventing irregular migration”.

      
 

 
Report on project activities from August to November 2016
2 December 2016
On 2 December IOM reported to a congregation of Georgian government officials, NGO activists and representatives of embassies of EU Member States on the achievements accomplished in the period from August to November 2016.

The presentation included information on the recently initiated procurement of equipment for the strengthening of control among the green border between Georgia and Turkey. IOM also reported on the progress in building the capacity of Georgian authorities in a range of topics, such as training on document security, curriculum development, management of reintegration assistance programmes for returned migrants, and other issues.

The presentation that IOM delivered during the meeting on 2 December is available.​
      
 

 
IOM Training for Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia
29 November - 1 December 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project, IOM provided training from 29 November until 1 December 2016 for 16 officials from the Georgian Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation.  The training covered identity management as well as document security and fraud.  The first two days of the training were delivered at the Academy of the Ministry of Interior by in-house trainer Keti Kobakhidze and IOM’s Border Management Specialist Mark Richmond.  The final day took place at the Justice House in Tbilisi and included tailored contributions from Public Service Development Agency officials concerning various mutual challenges. 

Core subjects included document security features, document abuse and developing best practice in identity management.  There were active discussions concerning procedures for dealing with false documents submitted in support of asylum claims in both Georgia and the EU.  Furthermore, useful practical exercises were carried out using both genuine specimen and false passports.  IOM in Georgia is making a concerted effort to ensure that the different arms of government dealing with document examination (including Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Revenue Service, Public Service Development Agency and the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation) increasingly develop their skills but also that they improve their understanding of the similar challenges being faced by other government actors. In making closing remarks to conclude the  training, the leading official from the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation expressed gratitude that IOM, MIA and PSDA had provided highly relevant training not previously received by his team.​
      
 

 
IOM Facilitates Exchange between Armenian and Georgian Government Officials
21 - 22 November 2016
On 21 and 22 November a delegation from various migration management structures in Armenia travelled to Georgia to engage with their Georgian counterparts in an exchange of effective practices of migration management.

The six Armenian officials met with interlocutors from Georgia’s Secretariat to the State Commission on Migration Issues, the Office of the State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Issues, and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, Justice and IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees. Topics of discussion ranged from Georgia’s Readmission Case Management Electronic System (RCMES), bilateral cooperation in the combat of trafficking in persons, return of irregular migrants and reintegration of returned migrants.

This bilateral meeting has been implemented under the More for More project funded by the European Union. Earlier in 2016, IOM facilitated a visit of Turkish authorities to Georgia, whereas the schedule is to organize a third bilateral event in 2017 with representatives of the Government of Azerbaijan.
      
 

 

7 - 9 November 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project, IOM provided training from 7-9 November 2016 for 15 officials from the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The training in document security and fraud included visa/consular officials currently serving in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kuwait, China, Qatar, South Africa and Jordan. In addition seven officials based in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tbilisi were present.  The first two days of the training were delivered at the Academy of the Ministry of Interior by in-house trainer Keti Kobakhidze and IOM’s Border Management Specialist Mark Richmond. Core subjects included document security features, document abuse and impostor detection. Additionally there were active discussions concerning best practice in dealing with false documents submitted in support of visa applications as well as the need to be aware of effective practices in identity management.  Practical exercises on passport examination were carried out to support the theoretical knowledge gained. The third day of the training course was spent at the Public Service Hall in Tbilisi where foreign nationals lodge applications for residence permits. The three day training was specifically planned by IOM to gather core actors in the border management chain and to obtain a clear understanding of the shared challenges being faced. In making closing remarks to conclude the  training, the officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed gratitude that IOM had arranged such a useful homecoming event that had included topics covered highly relevant to the work being carried out in their respective embassies.
      
 

 

2 - 4 November 2016
To support the effective development of Georgia’s UMAS (Unified Migration Analysis System) and under the EU-funded More for More project, IOM provided training from 2-4 November 2016 on a range of relevant issues concerning best practice in data security and sharing.

A wide range of government actors were present as well as technical experts who have been assigned to support the development of UMAS. The training was led by Mr. Nick Southon a data specialist from the United Kingdom with over thirty years of experience in government service. Initial focus was on the legal frameworks concerning data security in both the EU and Georgia with Mikheil Chikobava providing expertise on the Georgian angle. Wide ranging additional sessions covered, inter alia (i) privacy, security and breaches (ii) data retention (iii) data minimization and (iv) data sharing principles.  Additionally there a definition and exploration of the concept of the Big Data Environment. “At the end of the meeting, the Secretary for Data Support of the Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues summarized the issues discussed during the 3-day training and thanked the EU, the International Organization for Migration, and the invited expert. She underlined the importance of the Unified Migration Analytical System and active participation of all parties involved.
      
 

 

1 - 3 November 2016
At the request of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs and under the EU-funded More for More project, IOM provided training from 1-3 November 2016 for 18 recently assigned Patrol Police officers from David the Builder International Airport in Kutaisi.  The training course followed on from training conducted two months previously in Kutaisi and was arranged in response to the recent launch of seven new Wizz Air flights to EU destinations from the airport.  With significantly higher volumes of passengers and with very affordable flight ticket prices, the potential for increased travel document fraud is significant.  IOM invited back Gunta Laganovska from the Expertise Centre of the Latvian State Border Guard to carry out the document security and fraud training for the newly assigned officers. 

Ms. Laganovska used real examples of forged and counterfeit travel documents to facilitate the training and placed focus on ensuring that both the entry and the departure border checks are carried out to the highest standards.  Sophie Bujiashvili, the Head of the International Project Management Unit of the Patrol Police Department commented that she was “extremely pleased that IOM has been able to facilitate additional training on this important subject and for a group of less experienced officers”.
      
 

 

24 - 28 October 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project, the IOM organized a Training of Trainers course on Criminal Intelligence and Investigation for a range of different officials at the Academy of the Ministry of Interior. The training course was delivered by British expert Geoff Amir, took place from 24-28 October 2016 and included representatives from the Central Criminal Police Department, the Information Analytical Department as well as trainers from the Academy of the Ministry of Interior.  A wide range of topics were discussed including the role of analysts and approaches to their recruitment, intelligence collection and the significance of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). 

In closing the training course, Deputy-Rector of the Academy of the Ministry of Interior, Miranda Khabazi thanked the IOM and Mr. Amir and expressed her satisfaction at the extremely active and useful discussions that had taken place throughout the week. 


 
      
 

 

18 - 20 October 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM arranged for Sandra Esser and Matthias Golba from the German Federal Customs Office in Cologne to conduct training on International Transport and the Delivery of Goods from 18-20 October 2016. The training was provided for twenty frontline Revenue Service officers serving in various locations across Georgia and was very specific in detail and tailored to the demands outlined by the Revenue Service. 

Key topics covered included the clarification of doubts concerning the declared value of goods and the taking account of costs relevant for determining the customs value for particular goods. In addressing the trainees, Samson Uridia the Head of the International Relations Department at the Revenue Service of Georgia, expressed his gratitude to the experts from Germany as well as to IOM for continuing to support the Revenue Service’s target key areas for enhanced training.
      
 

 

1 - 2 October 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project Davit Mamiseishvili, Head of Batumi City Court joined IOM’s Border Management Specialist Mark Richmond to deliver a two day training course from 1-2 October at Batumi Hight School of justice. Judges from across Georgia, including Adjara, Poti and Tbilisi, were present.  Mr. Mamiseishvili described the Georgian legal framework and provided examples of cases of illegal border crossings and smuggling of migrants following the significant increase in cases in late 2015. He pointed out the links between organized smuggling of migrants and the links with other types of organized crime in Turkey and Adjara. 

The broader international context was considered including the changing smuggling routes in the region and the need to be aware that smugglers’ methods and routes evolve in order to stay one step ahead of law enforcement officers.  There was also discussion of the tough approach taken by Georgia to illegal border crossings and contrasts were made with the EU approach.  There was also consideration of the need to distinguish smuggling of migrants for financial gain with smuggling of migrants for humanitarian purposes in Georgian law.  Finally there was analysis of the current low rate of successful prosecutions for smuggling of migrants under paragraph 344-1 of the Georgian Criminal Code.  As a conclusion of the course it was proposed that a workshop be held to involve all branches of Georgian law enforcement, including judges and prosecutors.
      
 

 

21 - 23 September 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM responded to some specific training requests from the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  

The Migration Department’s Temporary Accommodation Centre has now been open for two years and fully operational since early 2015.  However since that time occupancy levels have been low and the Migration Department team is keen to learn more about EU best practice in operating such centres ensuring that both migrants’ rights and security are maintained. In this context, important issues such as dealing with families and preparing for emergencies were discussed.  The Migration Department team was set scenario exercises and required to defend their corresponding plans. Making his second visit to assist the Migration Department and with immense experience of managing accommodation centres in the Netherlands, Greg Pidakos shared his knowledge in both a frank and helpful manner. The Head of the Migration Department, Zaza Pantsulaia expressed his gratitude personally to Mr. Pidakos for taking time away from his responsibilities in the Netherlands to bolster the planning and knowledge of staff at the Temporary Accommodation Centre.
      
 

 
IOM Completes Document Security and Fraud Training Courses in Kutaisi
5 - 9 September 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project, IOM joined with Border Management Specialist at the Embassy of Latvia in Tbilisi to provide training for 40 Patrol Police officers in Kutaisi.  In the autumn of 2016 Wizz Air will launch seven new flights to EU destinations from Kutaisi International Airport. 

With such an expanded range of services the scope for increased travel document fraud is all too apparent so IOM invited Gunta Laganovska from the Expertise Centre of the Latvian State Border Guard to carry out training for 40 officers over a five day period.  Ms. Laganovska used practical examples of forged and counterfeit documents to facilitate the training and placed special emphasis on ensuring that both the entry and the departure border checks are carried out to the highest standards.   
      
 

 

31 August 2016
Under the EU-funded project “Reinforcing the Capacities of the Government of Georgia in Border and Migration Management” IOM is in the process of procuring 10 pieces of equipment for the detailed examination of identity documents at key Georgian border checkpoints.  The VSC 40 units will be procured by IOM from Foster & Freeman and in the build up to this IOM facilitated a training session for end users of the equipment at Tbilisi International Airport by Owen Lang from Foster & Freeman’s head office in the United Kingdom.
​Mr. Lang was able to not only highlight ways to exploit the potential of the equipment for end users but was also able to meet technical support staff from the Georgian government responsible for maintaining the equipment. Deputy Head of the Patrol Police of Georgia Levan Machavariani was present for Mr. Lang’s presentations and was keen to emphasise the significance to the Patrol Police of this sizeable investment in secondary document examination capacity. 
      
 

 

4 - 8 July 2016
In this photo: two plain clothes Revenue Service officers observe passengers in the baggage hall at Tbilisi International Airport​
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM arranged for Italian experts Giuseppe Corbo, Basilio Pelosi and Marco Paladino to train 20 Georgian Revenue Service officers in Body Language. The training course had previously been delivered to a different selection of officers and was designed to highlight the subtleties of assessing the body language of persons moving through border checkpoints.

The experts suggested different techniques to try to ensure that the persons challenged by Revenue Service officers are those most likely to be of interest. Part of the training course took place on location at Tbilisi International Airport as flights arrived from China, Russia, Austria and the UAE. The feedback received by IOM at the end of the training from those officers taking part was very positive. Irina Sigua from the Revenue Service International Relations Department expressed her satisfaction with the training and commented: “We are pleased that more of our  frontline officers have benefited from this highly relevant and practical training course.”
      
 

 

20 - 24 June 2016
Under the EU funded More for More project IOM continued its support to the Georgian Public Service Development Agency in the field of document examination including civil registration documents. From 20-24 June two experts from the Dutch government led the training in Tbilisi for 27 officials of the Public Service Development Agency along with  Public Service Hall officials from Tbilisi, Rustavi, Gori and Zugdidi and PSDA Community Centre officials from Sartichala and Sadakhlo.

The initial three days were led by Mr. Jody Schuurman from the Royal Dutch Marechaussee and were devoted to identity document examination including in-depth analysis of printing techniques and the personalization of identity documents.  The final two days of training were delivered by Mr. Eric Geestman from the Identity and Document Investigation Unit of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service and covered civil registration documents including the handling of documents issued in foreign countries.     

“The training was very useful for us, the officials of the Public Service Development Agency who process dozens of ID documents, passports and residence cards of Georgian citizens and foreigners every day. We are very thankful to our partner organization IOM who brought experienced trainers from Dutch governmental services to share their experience and knowledge.  We will pass this knowledge on to those of our colleagues who could not directly benefit from this training,” said Miranda Arabidze, Head of the Civil Acts and Population Registration Unit of the Public Service Development Agency.
      
 

 

7 - 9 June 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM arranged training in Sample Preparation for experts from the Forensic-Criminalistic Department of the Ministry of Interior  Between 7-9 June 2016, Izolda Žvironaitė covered such topics as the extraction of drugs made in clandestine labs from alkaline and acid solutions and the extraction of drugs from used syringes for similar analysis.  Various other areas of specialist examination and sample preparation were also included in the training and there was also opportunity for those present to share and compare experiences with the Lithuanian expert.  Giorgi Beridze, Quality Assurance Manager of the Forensic-Criminalistic Department welcomed the training and commented as follows “Not only is the content of the training important for the improvement of our current operations but also for facilitating the continuation of our cooperation with the Government of Lithuania.”
      
 

 

31 May - 3 June 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project and at the request of the Academy of the Ministry of Interior, IOM arranged for an EU expert to comprehensively assess the induction training for Border Police officers patrolling the green borders of Georgia and Patrol Police officers working at various border checkpoints. 

Between 31 May and 3 June 2016, Seppo Turkia brought to bear his vast experience acquired at the Finnish Border Guard, Border and Coast Guard Academy. Meetings took place with senior officials from the Academy of the Ministry of Interior, the Border Police and the Patrol Police and additional visits took place to gather information at an operational level. As such visits were made to Tbilisi International Airport, the Red Bridge border checkpoint with Azerbaijan and at the green border sector at Burdazori where Georgia borders Armenia. During the border visits Mr. Turkia met with both senior officers and junior officers to get a broad range of opinions and experience of the impact of the existing curricula.  The expert will produce a report complete with recommendations for improvements to the existing curricula.
      
 

 
IOM Delivers Traditional Annual Training for Georgian Judges on Trafficking in Human Beings
24 - 25 May 2016
The High School of Justice and IOM cooperate each year in organizing training courses for Georgian judges and judge assistants on trafficking in human beings as well as smuggling of migrants. On 24 and 25 May the Spanish Prosecutor and expert in combating trafficking in human beings, Patricia Fernandez Olalla, came to Georgia to share her experiences with 13 participants.
 
Ms. Fernandez highlighted effective practices of prosecuting trafficking in human beings, making sure that judges fully appreciate the complexities of investigating and prosecuting traffickers and the challenges prosecutors face in obtaining sound evidence from often traumatized victims. Of utmost importance in this context is professional protection and assistance for victims, making sure to take them away from the influence of their traffickers and accommodate them in a safe environment for them to weigh their options and plan their future.
 
The second expert, Mari Meskhi, provided explanations on the Georgian legal and institutional context, which aided the Georgian judges and judge assistants to correctly relate Ms. Fernandez’ presentations to the local reality.
 
As a follow-up to this course, IOM is planning to develop a standard training manual for presentation to the High School of Justice, based on which the latter can continue implementing anti-trafficking courses using locally available resources.

      
 

 
Georgian Forensic Document Examiners Visit France
17 - 19 May 2016
Georgian delegation observes document checks at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Under the EU-funded project “Reinforcing the Capacities of the Government of Georgia in Border and Migration Management” IOM organized a study visit to France from 17-19 May 2016 for six forensic document examiners from the Forensic-Criminalistic Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. Although possessing established expertise in document examination the experts had never previously had exposure to the factory production of secure documents such as passports and the production of security paper used in banknotes. 

The French company Oberthur hosted visits to two of its production facilities in Brittany as well as providing information concerning security features in paper and plastic at its Paris headquarters. Additionally the French embassy in Tbilisi facilitated a visit to observe the extensive challenges faced by the French authorities dealing with fraudulent documents at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Mr. Giorgi Beridze, Quality Assurance Manager at the the Forensic-Criminalistic Department, commented that the visit provided “extremely valuable additional knowledge to add to the section’s existing expertise”.
      
 

 
IOM Continues Promoting Georgia’s Electronic Readmission Management System
17 May 2016
On 17 May the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a government delegation from Azerbaijan to discuss the Electronic Readmission Management System that Georgia has developed to manage readmission of irregular migrants from the European Union.
 
Representatives from Azerbaijan’s State Migration Service and the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sat down with their interlocutors from the Georgian Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs to discuss the development modalities of this electronic system and the advantages this created for the Georgian side in managing all aspects of readmission with their counterpart in EU Member States.
 
Since 2011 IOM has been supporting the Georgian authorities with the development and maintenance of this electronic readmission management system. While the full intellectual ownership of this system lies with the Georgian side, IOM has agreed to promote the application of this unique management support tool towards the authorities of other countries. The visit of the Azerbaijani delegation was the second in line after a visit from representatives of the Turkish Ministry of Interior in February 2016.
      
 

 
IOM Carries Out Scoping Mission to Kartsakhi Green Border
10 May 2016
Under the EU funded More for More project 3.2 million Euros is being invested in four sections of the green border between Georgia and Turkey. IOM is supporting the intervention with procurement and logistical support for training Border Police officers. 

IOM previously carried out scoping missions to Sarpi, Kirnati and Vale and on 10 May 2016 carried out the final visit of the four to Kartsakhi in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia. IOM’s Border Management Specialist based in Tbilisi was briefed on the challenges being faced including the irregular movements that have been attempted in recent months by a range of different nationalities and how the EU investment in surveillance and communication equipment will enhance operational effectiveness.
      
 

 

26 April 2016
On 26 April IOM hosted 15 policy-makers from leading government agencies in the field of combating trafficking in human beings and non-governmental organizations in the National Validation Workshop in Tbilisi.
 
The participants in the workshop provided useful feedback to the draft report that an international expert had formulated based on a previous visit of hers to Georgia in January. The purpose of this endeavor is to generate current evidence of the regional Counter Trafficking landscape, on which to base future results-oriented interventions and ensure a more holistic approach to combating trafficking in human beings.

The project further aims to develop a streamlined and comprehensive Counter Trafficking Needs Assessment Tool, in line with international standards, to be tested in the participating countries and with the intention of future global use.
 
This workshop was conducted as part of the project “Identifying Gaps and Assessing Need: A Comparative Assessment of Counter Trafficking Efforts in Countries in the South Caucasus”, which is funded by the IOM Development Fund.
      
 

 

14 - 15 April 2016
Copyright 2016 Lasha Palavandishvili
Under the EU-funded More for More project, IOM’s Border Management Specialist Mark Richmond provided document security and fraud training for 20 officers from the Revenue Service at Sarpi border checkpoint in Adjara. This is the fifth such course delivered under the project that has been specifically targeted at Revenue Service officers with responsibility for operating the frontline immigration control for heavy good vehicles and medium sized commercial vehicles. 

It is particularly essential that Revenue Service officers at Sarpi have a high level of travel document examination knowledge as the border checkpoint is by some margin the busiest in Georgia. During the training there was additional useful discussion of related matters such as the increasing value of Georgian passports on the black market as a consequence of EU visa liberalization.
      
 

 
Contingency Planning Workshop 
18 March 2016
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM hosted a workshop in Tbilisi on 18 March 2016 aimed at initiating a plan for a migrant surge at Georgian borders. The workshop was organised in recognition of Georgia's proximity to current areas of conflict but also taking account of the reactive rather than planned response that has taken place in other countries when faced with such a surge. The complex and challenging current migration dynamics and mixed migration flows in the region have impacted on Georgia already such that it is considered wise for the country to reach a higher level of preparedness.

The workshop was attended by representatives from the Secretariat to the State Commission on Migration Issues, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Security Service and presentations were made by Joanna Dabao from IOM's Department of Emergencies in Geneva as well as by Katarina Lughofer from IOM's Regional Office in Vienna. Ms. Dabao provided a clear introduction about how to go about making contingency plans for significantly increased migration flows and Ms. Lughofer followed up with practical advice drawing on her experience gained in dealing with the substantial migration flows in the Western Balkans.
      
 

 
IOM Steps Up Capacity Building of Georgian Law Enforcement Bodies on Smuggling of Migrants
1 - 4 March 2016
This week IOM has been organizing an in-depth course in Batumi for specialized prosecutors and police officers on effective methods of investigating the crime of smuggling of migrants. Together with trainer Adrian Loxton and IOM’s IBM specialist Mark Richmond, both from the United Kingdom, a group of 18 prosecutors, border control officers and Revenue Service officials has been going through theoretical and practical exercises to enhance their appreciation of how smuggling of migrants can be combated in an effective manner.

The sharp increase in the number of apprehensions of irregular migrants in the fourth quarter of 2015 at the green border between Georgia and Turkey, in particular involving migrants from Bangladesh and Somalia, is a clear indicator that Georgia has very much become the target of organized criminals, who channel migrants from origin countries in Asia and Africa through Georgia in an attempt to land them in Turkey. Georgia’s relaxed admission policies obviously are a pull factor, whereas smugglers know that law enforcement capacities in Georgia are often not sufficient to unravel the international networks behind these smuggling operations and catch the main culprits. Several fatal incidents of Bangladeshi migrants freezing to death in the high-altitude region of Javakheti underline the importance of resolute action against smuggling rings before such humanitarian tragedies occur.

Building capacity on the topic of smuggling of migrants is one of the priorities in the project “Reinforcing the Capacities of the Georgian Government in Border and Migration Management”, which is funded by the EU and will run until summer 2017.
      
 

 
IOM Updates Engagement in ‘More for More’ Project of Expertise from EU Member States
For the implementation of many activities that are part of the ‘More for More’ project, IOM makes active use of specific expertise that is available in EU Member States. This applies in particular to the project components of integrated border management, combating irregular migration as well as the management and analysis of migration data, which all contain highly technical issues for which the right expertise is not available in Georgia.
 
An updated report highlighting in which instances IOM made use of expertise from the EU is available for downloading . The appendix with full information on both the concluded expert assignments and the vacancies for expert assignments can be downloaded .
 
IOM welcomes applications by experts in EU Member States for the outstanding consultancies in 2016 and 2017 and looks forward to receiving detailed CVs of proposed experts.
 
The ‘More for More’ project of IOM envisages the provision of tailored capacity building of Georgian authorities in their quest to attain visa free travel to the EU, as a partner that has demonstrated credible progress in securing the borders and promoting safe migration for both own citizens and foreigners transiting through Georgia.
      
 

 
26 February 2016
Sixth Steering Committee Meeting
The partners of IOM in the ‘More for More’ project met each other for the 6th time to present progress in implementation of project activities and announce plans for the upcoming 6 months. Read about it  (courtesy of the Secretariat to the State Commission on Migration Issues).
      
 

 
8 - 9 February 2016
Bilateral Meeting in Tbilisi between Georgian and Turkish Migration Management Authorities
On 8 and 9 February IOM organized in Tbilisi a bilateral meeting between migration management authorities from Georgia and Turkey to discuss issues of current concern, including trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants as well as the Electronic Readmission Management System that the Georgians have been applying with their counterparts in EU Member States since January 2014.
 
This bilateral meeting comes in the context of enhanced cooperation between Georgian and Turkish authorities on the management of migration flows and combating cross-border crime. One of the prime interests of the 16-man strong Turkish delegation was to learn details of how Georgia cooperates with the EU on readmission of irregular migrants and study the benefits of the Electronic Readmission Management System that the Georgian side developed over the years 2011-2014, with financial support from the EU through IOM. This meeting is the latest in a series of bilateral meetings that IOM has been organizing between the two countries since 2006 to facilitate direct contacts among migration management authorities and discuss joint approaches to dealing with migration related challenges. This meeting took place as part of the More for More project framework financed by the European Union’s “Eastern Partnership Integration and Cooperation Programme (EaPIC) 2012”.
      
 

 
22 December 2015
IOM Continues to Assist Georgian Authorities in Combating Trafficking in Human Beings
On 22 December IOM facilitated a working session between judges and prosecutors to discuss cooperation and reinforce successful law enforcement action against traffickers. Four judges and five prosecutors, accompanied by a representative of the Secretariat to the Counter-Trafficking Interagency Coordination Council, convened in Tbilisi to discuss ongoing prosecutions of suspected traffickers and review concluded court cases, thus highlighting areas where further progress needs to be achieved.
 
This meeting is part of IOM’s counter-trafficking programme, financed by the EU under the More for More programme, and aiming to focus on key priorities as outlined the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan and Agenda to the Association Agreement. In 2016 IOM will continue assisting the Georgian authorities with tailored capacity building initiatives and expose them to effective counter-trafficking practices as applied in EU Member States.
      
 

 
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM provided document examination training for 18 officers from the Revenue Service at Sarpi border checkpoint in Adjara. Revenue Service has the responsibility for operating the frontline immigration control for heavy good vehicles and medium sized commercial vehicles and there it is imperative that its officers have a high level of travel document examination knowledge. This has added significance at Sarpi as it by far Georgia’s busiest land border checkpoint. The two day training took place on 17-18 December and was delivered by Mark Richmond, IOM’s Border Management Specialist based in Tbilisi. The training covered key matters such as document security, partial counterfeiting of documents, visa abuse as well as impostor detection. 
      
 

 
Georgia an Important Step Closer to Visa-Free Travel to the EU
On 18 December the European Commission released the 4th progress report on the implementation by Georgia of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP).
 
As expected, this report underlines the significant progress that the Georgian authorities have achieved, together with their counterparts in civil society, in aligning migration management policies and related legislation to identified needs and challenges, making sure that Georgia approaches international standards of effective migration management.
 
IOM is pleased to have been involved in the process of implementing the VLAP and congratulates the Georgian authorities for this major step towards enhanced mobility for citizens of Georgia who wish to travel to the EU.

The full assessment report is available .     
      
 

 
Under the More for More project IOM arranged for Italian experts Giuseppe Corbo and Basilio Pelosi to train 20 Georgian Revenue Service officers in Body Language.  The training course was designed to highlight the subtleties of assessing the body language of persons moving through border checkpoints. The experts suggested different techniques to ensure that the persons challenged by Revenue Service officers are those most likely to be of interest.  Part of the training course took place on location at Tbilisi International Airport as flights arrived. The feedback received by IOM at the end of the training from those officers taking part was extremely enthusiastic. Furthermore Maka Khvedelidze, Deputy Head of the Revenue Service International Relations Department expressed her satisfaction with the training and commented “We are very thankful that this very important and practically oriented training has been delivered by such recognized experts.”     
      
 

 
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM provided document examination training on the Foster & Freeman VSC 40 machine procured by ICMPD. The training took place in Batumi on 30 November and 1 December and was attended by Forensic Laboratory document examiners from both Adjara and Tbilisi and Patrol Police officers from Adjara. 
 
The training was conducted by Ian Fotheringham, an experienced document examiner with experience working at the National Document Fraud Unit in London. The training covered how to use light sources and camera filters, the image modes panel as well as 3rd level security features. 
Mr. Fotheringham emphasised the need for officers to be able to use the equipment to build an evidential case for questioned documents. 
 
Two officers from the Patrol Police in Adjara who attended  the previous month in the Netherlands arranged under the same EU-funded project were also present to further expand their knowledge.
                                                              
      
 

 
Under the EU-funded project “Reinforcing the Capacities of the Government of Georgia in Border and Migration Management” IOM organized a study visit in the Netherlands for nine representatives from Georgian authorities on the topic of document examination and identity fraud.

Representatives from Patrol Police of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA), as well as a representative of the Public Service Development Agency (PSDA) of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, successfully completed Advance Level Document Examination Training Course offered by Dutch experts from Identity Fraud and Documents Centre of Expertise (ECID) of Royal Constabulary in Schiphol, the Netherlands.

Throughout the five-day intensive course the experts addressed the topics of document security techniques, printing techniques, document examination, digital printing techniques, and security elements in documents. 
 
The training course combined theory with practical exercises, during which the participants observed different techniques and equipment used in securing travel and ID documents. Special focus was made on security features in breeder documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, which are most vulnerable when it comes to forgery.
 
All training participants successfully completed final practical examination during which they examined documents in front of two experts from ECID.
                                                   
The training is specifically designed to build and develop document examination skills within the Georgian Patrol Police. The officers trained will become document focal points in their respective locations and will not only play a key role in training others but will also ensure that the latest trends in document fraud are relayed to fellow officers. 

                                                                                                     
      
 

 
The 5th Steering Committee Meeting was held on 6th November 2015 at the Public Service Hall in Tbilisi.

The meeting was organized within the EU funded programme “More for More” jointly implemented by the ICMPD and IOM in Georgia in close cooperation with the State Commission on Migration Issues. The meeting brought together the representatives from Georgian state Institutions, international and non-governmental organizations, EU member states, EU Delegation to Georgia as well as the representatives of the Embassies of the EU member states accredited in Georgia. At the meeting, the ICMPD and IOM representatives informed the Steering Committee members about the progress achieved within the reporting period (from March 2015 to date), future activities and envisioned plans. After the presentations, the meeting attendees exchanged the views and expressed their suggestions for future cooperation.

At the end of the meeting, the representative of the EU Delegation to Georgia thanked the Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues, ICMPD and IOM for their activities as well as other members involved in the implementation of the “More for More” programme for their support.                                                                                           
      
 

 
25 – 29 October 2015
Study Visit of Georgian Officials to Estonia on Border Management Risk Analysis Methods 
As a follow-up to the risk analysis Assessment Report produced for the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) by an EU expert from Poland, IOM organized a study visit for MIA officials from 25 to 29 October 2015 to gain exposure to border management risk analysis methods in another EU Member State, Estonia. 

Representatives of Patrol Police, Information-Analytical Department, Migration Department and State Security Agency of MIA met with their counterparts from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board in Tallinn and Narva to discuss risk analysis and intelligence management-related issues as well as technical aspects of border and migration management.

In Narva, Mr. Andrus Reimaa, chief of a newly renovated “green border” station introduced the Georgian delegation to the situation at the Eastern border of Estonia with Russia. There officials also met with the Chief of the Border Check Point, Mr. Üllar Kustala, who briefed them about the technical capacities of Estonian border guards in overcoming border management-related challenges.

In Tallinn, the Georgian delegation met with the Head of the Risk Analysis Division of the Intelligence Management Bureau, Mr. Toomas Kuuse and Risk Analysis Expert, Mr. Ago Tikk.  The two officials provided a general overview of the Estonian approach to migration and border management-related risk assessment and discussed and demonstrated various methods of data processing and analysis.

In addition, a visit was organized to the Estonian Rescue Service in Tallinn, where the study tour participants learned about how Estonia responds to emergency calls and dispatches police, rescue and emergency resources.

Estonian colleagues shared with the Georgian Delegation relevant risk analysis and reporting frameworks and methods. This study visit established cooperation that will contribute to the further development of risk analysis system within the relevant authorities of Georgia to meet the varied challenges of border management.                                                                                               
      
 

 
28 - 30 October 2015
IOM Delivers Training on Smuggling of Migrants for State Prosecutors in Batumi
IOM delivered training on Smuggling of Migrants for State Prosecutors in Batumi from 28-30 October 2015. Prosecutors from across the west of Georgia were present as well as representatives from the Georgian Border Police and the Revenue Service in Adjara. The training course covered the international legal framework as well as that relevant laws in Georgia. There was also consideration of intelligence-led policing approaches to organised criminal smuggling of migrants drawing on examples from the EU.  Additionally there was analysis of the reasons for the increasing number of smuggled migrants being identified attempting to cross the green border between Georgia and Turkey. The blend of different government actors present predictably led to useful exchanges of views throughout the three days. The training was delivered by IOM’s Border Management Specialist Mark Richmond who was able to draw on first-hand experience of the impact of migrant smuggling in the EU as well as in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.                                                                                                                                                               
      
 

 
13 October 2015
Document Examination and Identity Management Training for 18 Officials in Batumi
Under the EU funded More for More project IOM responded to a request from the Georgian Public Service Development Agency for additional document examination and identity management training following successful events in Tbilisi and Kutaisi. The IOM’s Border Management and Training Specialist Mark Richmond led the training course which took place in Batumi on 13 October 2015.  Included in the group of 18 were the officials from Batumi, Kobuleti, Poti, Zugdidi as well as Khelvachauri, Keda, Shuakhevi and Khulo territorial offices of the Public Service Development Agency, along with  Public Service Hall officials from Batumi, Poti, Ozurgeti and Kutaisi and PSDA Community Centre officials from Natanebi, Jvari, Orsantia, Geguti and Nigoiti. Recognising the challenge of identity management the group discussed the importance of paying great attention to foreign identity and supporting documents when registering aliens as residents in Georgia.  A delegate from the Kutaisi Public Service Hall commented as follows: “The previous training by IOM in April 2015 directly led to the detection of falsified documents at our office.  We are very happy that the training is being continued to benefit yet more colleagues.”

                                               
      
 

 
IOM Summarizes Achievements in the Second Issue of the Project Newsletter
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has completed the first 20 months of implementation of the EU-funded project “Reinforcing the Capacities of the Government of Georgia in Border and Migration Management” (More for More). The overarching objective of this project is to assist the Georgian authorities in implementing the Visa Liberalization Action Plan and in dealing with the challenges posed by the management of borders and migration flows.  and find out about our achievements and future plans.
      
 

 
6 - 8 October 2015
Belgian Experts Head Workshop on Intelligence Led Policing for the Ministry of Internal Affairs
Under the EU-funded More for More project, IOM invited two Belgian government experts, Marc Simon and Jean-Yves Deloyer, to head a workshop on Intelligence Led Policing between 6 and 8 October 2015 at the Ministry of Interior Headquarters. The workshop covered crucial matters such as the role of analysts, information flows and effective dissemination of intelligence. Real case studies from the EU were introduced to place theory into context. In his welcoming speech the Deputy Minister of Interior Shalva Khutsishvili emphasised that the workshop was not a stand-alone event but rather one step of many in integrating intelligence led policing in the existing Georgian model. As a follow-up to the workshop a working group will be created within the Georgian Ministry of Interior to ensure continuity and to progress this important area of crime prevention.
      
 

 
21-24 September 2015
Document Security and Fraud Training for Frontline Patrol Police Officers of the MIA
 Patrol Police Officers take part in an impostor detection exercise
From 21-24 September 2015, under the EU-funded More for More project IOM organized training in document security and fraud for frontline officers from Georgia’s Patrol Police. The group included some of the most experienced officers dealing with document abuse at border checkpoints and the training is part of a drive to achieve ever improving standards of fraud detection. The training was also part of a strategic plan by the Ministry of Interior, supported by IOM, to create a higher level of document handling expertise at all border checkpoints. The group of officers in attendance are based at the three major airports in the country namely Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi as well as at key land border checkpoints such as Red Bridge, Sadakhlo and Kazbegi. The training was carried out by experts Eric Geestman and Ruben Willering from the Netherlands. Officers were given extensive instruction in document security and fraud but the training course placed a great emphasis on practical examinations. Officers were tested on forged and counterfeit documents with time restrictions to replicate the pressures at border checkpoints. In addition the course ended with a classroom based paper examination followed by each participant examining two travel documents without reference to any advice from others.

The training course was deliberately designed to test participants’ existing knowledge in a time restricted context and therefore the challenges posed required both composure and attention to fine detail. The closing ceremony of the training was attended by Giorgi Razmadze, Head of the Patrol Police Department providing a clear indication of the importance placed on enhancing such skills by the Georgian Ministry of Interior.  In his closing speech Mr. Razmadze thanked the EU, IOM and praised the significant efforts of the Dutch experts, commenting that such training courses are “extremely important in aligning the skills of Georgian officers with their counterparts in countries such as the Netherlands”.
 
      
 

 
IOM Provides Keesing Document Checker to PSDA
Under the EU-funded More for More project, IOM has procured an online subscription for the Keesing Document Checker for the Georgian Ministry of Justice’s Public Service Development Agency (PSDA).  The subscription will be used by the Agency’s officials dealing with the identity documents and will assist in enhancing knowledge of information about passports from around the world.  The documents are detailed clearly showing all the security features meaning that officials can quickly identify evidence of falsification.  The number and variety of travel documents handled by Georgia officials is steadily increasing and it is vital that they increase their confidence and knowledge in handling unfamiliar documents. Koka Andghuladze, the Head of the Biometric Documents Personalization Center at the PSDA commented as follows: “We aim to provide both citizens of Georgia and foreign nationals a first-class service and to achieve this we need to ensure that our officials are not only well trained but also have access to information that enables them to professionally carry out their work.”

IOM will be involved with the Georgian authorities in continuing the promotion of this tool towards any country that cooperates with the EU on readmission management. This five-year project was funded in two phases by the European Union under its Thematic Programme for Cooperation with Third Countries in the Areas of Migration and Asylum.
      
 

 
18 September 2015
IOM has Transferred the Full Ownership of the Consular E-Management Service System to the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
During a ceremony hosted by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), IOM and the MFA signed a Deed of Donation about the transfer of ownership of the Consular E-Management Service System. This signature ceremony marks the culmination of five years of close cooperation between IOM and the Georgian authorities in enhancing the latter’s capacities to manage readmission and offer a comprehensive online consular service package to Georgian citizens abroad. This transfer ceremony, which included the donation of the system’s source code, was attended by representatives of the European Union and Embassies of the Czech Republic and Poland, who acted as co-funders of this EU-funded project.

The key module in the Consular E-Management Service System is the readmission e-management module, which is an online module for direct cooperation between EU Member States and Georgia for the uploading and processing of requests of readmission from EU countries concerning citizens of Georgia residing in the EU on an irregular basis. This e-management system, which has been developed by the Georgian authorities and in that sense is a unique Georgian product, is innovative in the sphere of readmission management.

IOM will be involved with the Georgian authorities in continuing the promotion of this tool towards any country that cooperates with the EU on readmission management. This five-year project was funded in two phases by the European Union under its Thematic Programme for Cooperation with Third Countries in the Areas of Migration and Asylum.

                                                                                                                                                                                     
      
 

 
27 August 2015
IOM Hosts Delegation of the Ministry of IDPs in Batumi
On Thursday 27 August the Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees (MRA) visited Batumi for the purpose of presenting to society the reintegration assistance programme that the Ministry has been financing since June this year. IOM was pleased to host this delegation in its premises in downtown Batumi.
 
First Deputy Minister Grigol Giorgadze briefed the attendants of the information meeting of the new opportunities that the Ministry has made available for people, who have recently returned to Georgia, with the purpose to sustain their return and re-find their place in society. IOM is the Ministry’s long-standing partner in the field of reintegration assistance and welcomes the recent allocation of state budgetary resources for the purpose of expanding reintegration assistance opportunities for returnees. This is an important step towards the sustainability of government ownership in this field, placed in the broader framework of EU-Georgia cooperation on visa liberalization and related migration management issues.
      
 

 
IOM Delivers Keesing Document Checker to the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs
IOM has procured six online subscriptions for the Keesing Document Checker for the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs.  The subscriptions are for three key border checkpoints including Tbilisi airport, the forensic laboratories in Tbilisi and Batumi and also for the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Keesing Document Checker allows officials to access clear and up to date information about identity documents such as passports from around the world.  The documents are detailed clearly showing all the security features meaning that officials can quickly identify evidence of falsification in the documents that they are handling.  Keti Kobakhidze, expert travel document trainer at the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs commented as follows: “We receive a certain number of specimen passports but Document Checker gives us much more comprehensive access to the documents currently in circulation.”
      
 

 
7-9 and 21-23 July 2015
IOM Trains 15 Officials from MIA and PSDA on Presentational Skills
With European Union funding under the “More for More” project and at the request of the Ministry of Interior (MIA) and the Public Service Development Agency (PSDA) of the Ministry of Justice, IOM trained 15 officials in Presentational Skills from 7-9 and 21-23 July 2015 respectively. Those in attendance included representatives of the MIA Department for International Relations, the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs as well as the SCMI (State Commission on Migration Issues) Secretariat and other departments of the PSDA.  A commonly mentioned expectation of the training is that it provides practical guidance on making effective presentations.  As such the training course provides the opportunity to not only receive suggestions and tips on common pitfalls in delivering training and presentations but also the opportunity for each of those present to make two presentations each both of which are filmed.  In expressing thanks to IOM, Marika Mshvildadze from the PSDA made the following comments: “I think these three days were extremely interesting and beneficial for me. I appreciate all the recommendations and feel much more motivated to further improve my presentational skills.” 

         
      
 

 
15 – 16 July 2015
Georgian Law Enforcement Officers Study Effective Practices of Combating Exploitation of Street Children
On 15 and 16 July up to 40 Georgian police officers and prosecutors attended training on effective practices of combating trafficking in children, in particular the exploitation of street children into forced begging. An expert from the Romanian Police came to Tbilisi to share his experiences with his Georgian peers of how they deal with the issue of child begging and what solutions they have found for particularly difficult challenges.
 
The training was preceded by a workshop for policy makers in all Georgian line ministries that have a responsibility in addressing child trafficking, including the Ministries of Education and Social Affairs. The Romanian expert highlighted the usefulness of stringent criminal law as an essential basis for holding traffickers and exploiters accountable to the law. This event generated lively discussions on issues such as child care facilities, parental responsibilities and cross-border cooperation in case children are transported abroad for begging.
 
This event is the third in a range of tailored capacity building activities based on the specific recommendations formulated in the third assessment report of Georgia’s efforts in implementing the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP), in particular as concerns trafficking in persons and combating irregular migration. IOM has agreed to implement concrete follow-up activities under the More for More project based on specific needs identified by the Georgian authorities.
      
 

 
1 – 2 July 2015
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM’s Border Management Specialist Mark Richmond delivered a two day training course from 1 - 2 July 2015 at the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (POG) in Tbilisi. State Prosecutors from locations across Georgia were present along with representatives of the Border Police, Patrol Police, Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Georgian Revenue Service. Subjects discussed included the Georgian legal framework, the prosecutions for illegal border crossing, distinguishing between smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons and the current European challenges in dealing with people smuggling from Turkey and across the Mediterranean. Real case studies were included to make the necessary connection between migrant smuggling and organized crime. The training was well received by those present and the mixed dynamics of the group allowed not only for discussions concerning shared challenges but also for an exchange of contact details.
 
      
 

 
30 June 2015
Delegation of the Belgian Government Visits the Mobility Centre
On 30 June a delegation from the Belgian Government, including officials from the Federal Immigration Department, visited the Mobility Centre to acquaint themselves with the reintegration assistance opportunities available for migrants returning to Georgia.
 
Georgian returnees from Belgium quite regularly address the Mobility Centre with queries about the possibilities of receiving reintegration assistance after their return home. Belgium is actually the 6th sending country in terms of the number of reintegration assistance beneficiaries.
 
More information on this visit is available of IOM’s partner in this initiative, the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees.
      
 

 
30 June – 1 July 2015
On 30 June – 1 July 2015, jointly with the Office for the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues and Public Service Development Agency, IOM organized a Migration for Development workshop in Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel in Tbilisi. Mr. Stephen Stork, representative of EU Delegation to Georgia, Ms. Ilyana Derilova, IOM Georgia Chief of Mission and Ms. Nana Tsiklauri, Deputy Chair of the Public Service Development Agency welcomed the participants. IOM engaged representatives of the Parliamentary Committee on Diaspora and Caucasus Issues, the Economic Council of Prime Minister of Georgia, Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, National Bank of Georgia, private sector and donor organizations in discussions on financial literacy and remittance services and on mainstreaming migration into national development plans. The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Michaella Vanore from UNU-Merit, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. The workshop was organized as part of a migration data management component of the EU-funded More for More initiative implemented by IOM in Georgia. On the second day of the workshop IOM National Programme Officer, Ms. Natia Kvitsiani, presented special features and services available for Diaspora abroad through a Diaspora webportal www.tanamemamule.ge. The portal was developed recently by IOM in close cooperation with the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues and serves as a communicationa and cooperation mechanism between Georgian State and Diaspora.
 
      
 

 
22 – 26 June 2015
IOM Trains 18 Officers from Georgia's Migration Department
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM responded to a specific training request from the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.   The Migration Department’s Temporary Accommodation Centre has played host to a small number of persons since becoming fully operational in early 2015.  However the Migration Department is keen to learn more about EU best practice in operating such centres ensuring that both migrants’ rights and security are maintained.  With vast experience of managing centres in the Netherlands Greg Pidakos shared his knowledge in such matters as developing SOPs, conflict avoidance and increasing good communication between those working and staying in the centre.  Georgian officials are conscious that the challenges posed were such a centre to be full are very different from those being faced at the present time.   

      
 

 
15 – 18 June 2015
MIA Operational Department Officials Visit Finland
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM’s Border Management Specialist based in Tbilisi cooperated with the Finnish Border Guard (FBG) to enable four officials from the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Operational Technical Department (OTD) to visit Kainuu in central Finland from 15 - 18 June 2015.  With the EU funding, 3.2 million dollars of equipment is being procured for upgrading Georgia’s border surveillance apparatus. 
The OTD officials received first hand exposure to the equipment used in Finland and how for example cameras and sensors are synchronised to avoid FBG officers travelling unnecessarily to remote areas only to discover that an animal had triggered the sensor. Classroom based analysis of the challenges faced in Georgia was mixed with practical exposure to the command centre in Kajaani, the green border close to Suommusalmi and the border checkpoint at Varteus. Time spent at Varteus included a helicopter journey on patrol with the FBG south of the checkpoint. The leader of the Georgian delegation Giorgi Gugunashvili summed up the visit as follows: “As we move to upgrade our knowledge and capacities such a varied visit is extremely useful to us.  Seeing the Finnish Border Guard working in remote border areas using their surveillance and GPS equipment was very impressive.” 

                
      
 

 
1 - June 2015
Search and Inspection Training for 25 Revenue Service Officer
Under the EU-funded border management capacity building initiative, implemented by IOM, Polish expert Mr. Remigiusz Wozniak visited Georgia to deliver a five-day search and inspection training course for 25 specially selected Revenue Service (RS) officers.
 
The training course was conducted in Orkhevi Training Centre in Tbilisi and focused on such topics as routes and methods of narcotics smuggling, document analysis, the role of the Customs Service in the fight against smuggling of narcotics, legal bases and practical aspects of personal searches. On the last day of the training RS officers visited Tbilisi International Airport where they took part in a four-hour exercise, practicing the skills they had acquired during the training course.
 
The Revenue Service of Georgia has developed close cooperation with its counterparts in Poland over several years. IOM will continue to assist the Revenue Service of Georgia in developing its risk analysis and training capacities as well as its approach to search and inspection of goods.
      
 

 
26 - 29 May 2015
Georgian Revenue Service Delegation Hosted in U.K.
Under the EU-funded More for More project IOM coordinated a visit to the U.K. from 26-29 May for senior officials from the Revenue Service of Georgia including deputy head of the International Relations Department, Maka Khvedelidze.  The aim of the visit was to gain practical exposure to the approach of the U.K. Border Force to risk analysis.  The delegation was provided with extensive exposure to the Port of Felixstowe which handles 46% of all ship cargo entering and leaving the U.K.  Officers specialising in targeting, intelligence and operations were on hand to provide detailed explanations concerning their approaches to dealing with the huge cargo volumes at the port.  At the International Postal Hub in Coventry the delegation were provided with comprehensive exposure to screening post and the use of risk analysis as it applies to large volumes of postal items over 2.2 kilogrammes.  Discussions included seizure of items such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals as well as the methods employed to ensure appropriate duty is paid on goods posted to the U.K. The final part of the visit involved a tour of Birmingham Airport that included targeting approaches at the red channel and also risk analysis of air freight. Before returning to Tbilisi, Ms. Khvedelidze  commented as follows “We asked the IOM to plan and facilitate a practical study tour focusing on the key issues that challenge to the Georgian Revenue Service in developing its risk analysis capacity – this is exactly what this visit to the U.K. has delivered.” 
      
 

 

29 May 2015
IOM Shares Experience with NGOs in Providing Reintegration Assistance to Returned Migrants
On Friday 29 May IOM, together with the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Refugees and Accommodation (MRA), organized a training for 7 non-government organizations on the topic of providing comprehensive assistance to returned migrants for the sake of their sustainable reintegration in Georgian society.
 
These 7 NGOs have been selected as MRA’s implementing partners, as a result of the grant competition that the Ministry announced earlier this year to identify the most qualified service providers in providing tailored services to returned migrants in 5 different locations across Georgia. The representative of the EU Delegation highlighted the importance of state budget funds being made available for this cause and expressed the hope that budgetary resources will again be accessible to returned migrants in the years to come.
 
IOM emphasized the need for coordinated action with the 4 Mobility Centres that it operates in Georgia and explained the procedures that it applies for selecting returnees as beneficiaries. Similar capacity building activities will be conducted in the future in order to ensure high-quality services to deal with the challenges of substantial return movements by Georgian migrants.
 
This initiative is part of IOM’s cooperation with the MRA under the Mobility Centre and receives funding from the European Union.
      
 
 
 
IOM Building Capacity of Anti-Trafficking Hotline operators
In response to a request from the Georgian authorities, IOM has recently concluded training for the hotline operation team in the State Fund for the Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking in Persons. The hotline 2 100 229 has been operating for about 8 years now, but due to recent reforms in the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of which the State Fund forms part, the composition of the hotline operation team changed.
 
The IOM hotline operator who is associated with the Mobility Centre shared her vast experience in all aspects of hotline management, including the collection of updated information relevant for callers, techniques in communicating to hotline beneficiaries, and appropriate methodologies for referring callers to relevant addresses in case the query goes beyond the mandate of the State Fund.

This training was offered by IOM in response to the specific recommendation in the third progress report of the European Commission, released on 8 May and assessing the progress made by Georgia in implementing the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan.
 
This cooperation has been based on the Memorandum of Understanding that IOM signed with the State Fund for the Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking in Persons in 2013, and which was recently extended for a period of 2 years. IOM will continue its cooperation with this state entity, including in the area of identification of possible victims of trafficking and cross-referral.
 
For more on IOM’s experience in hotline operation go to our
      
 
 
 
18 - 22 May 2015
IOM Expert Karol Turzynski Works on Risk Analysis at Ministry of Internal Affairs
The European Commission published on 8 May 2015, its third progress report on the implementation by Georgia of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP). This report is the first progress report measuring the implementation of the second phase of the VLAP and issues a set of recommendations for follow-up measures by the Georgian authorities.
 
IOM will continue working side-by-side with the Georgian authorities on advancing migration governance and border management policies and take full note of the recommendations for aligning Georgia’s migration policies with the VLAP benchmarks.

  
 
 
 
16 May 2015
Raising Awareness on EU-Georgia cooperation
On 16 May 2015 an event was organized in Kutaisi to raise awareness on EU-Georgia cooperation. Schools and university representatives participated in the event together with local non-governmental organizations. Under the campaign IOM Kutaisi Office presented reintegration and safe migration component of one of its current projects “Enhanced Cooperation for Secure Borders and Safe Migration”. Interested persons received information on legal work and study opportunities abroad, risks associated with irregular migration and dangers of trafficking in persons, as well as on student exchange programmes. The information campaign was organized by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), a partner organization of IOM in implementing a joint EU-funded initiative that among others focuses on raising public awareness on EU-Georgia Visa Dialogue and VLAP. 

Photograph is courtesy of ICMPD

 
 
 
 
Third Progress Report on Implementation of the VLAP
 
The European Commission published on 8 May 2015, its third progress report on the implementation by Georgia of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP). This report is the first progress report measuring the implementation of the second phase of the VLAP and issues a set of recommendations for follow-up measures by the Georgian authorities.
 
IOM will continue working side-by-side with the Georgian authorities on advancing migration governance and border management policies and take full note of the recommendations for aligning Georgia’s migration policies with the VLAP benchmarks.

The full report is available 
 
 
 
5 - 6 May 2015
IOM Trains Judges in Smuggling of Migrants
Under the EU-funded More for More project Georgian Legal Expert Mari Meskhi joined IOM’s Border Management Specialist Mark Richmond to deliver a two day training course from 5-6 May 2015 at the High School of Justice in Tbilisi. Judges from across Georgia were present including Adjara, Poti, Samtredia, Telavi and Akhaltsikhe. Ms. Meskhi provided details of the Georgian legal framework and clearly distinguished between illegal border crossing, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons. Areas of discussion included the presence of migrant consent in smuggling and the nature of smuggling of persons as a service/business transaction. The broader international context including the recent smuggling deaths in the Mediterranean was considered along with some dramatically contrasting penalties for narcotics smuggling. Additionally potential remedies for the current low rate of successful prosecutions for smuggling of migrants in Georgia were examined. Mr. Davit Mamiseishvili  judge at Batumi City Court commented that “the training has allowed us to better define terms and gain a broader perspective but we would also welcome being involved in further training courses drawing in other key government partners”. 
 
 
 
14 - 17 April 2015
Identity Management Training for Public Service Development Agency
Experts from IOM and Georgia’s Ministry of Interior joined forces to deliver training in both Tbilisi and Kutaisi in Document Fraud and Identity Management. IOM’s Training & Border Management Specialist Mark Richmond teamed up with Ketevan Kobakhidze from the Academy of the Ministry of Interior to train 46 officials across both cities in various issues including document security, document abuse and impostor detection. Trainees deal with applications from foreign nationals as well as citizens of Georgia for a range of important documents such as passports, identity cards and residence permits on a daily basis.  The trainers highlighted the widespread use of fraudulent supporting/breeder documents and the provided guidance on how to secure the goal of one person-one identity.  An official in Kutaisi commented that “the training and examples provided have made us aware that fraudsters will on occasion target our operations with success even when we are satisfied that our processes are robust.”
 
 
 
1 April 2015
IOM Trained 7 Consular/Visa Officers on Travel Document Security and Fraud
Under the EU-funded More for More Project IOM trained 7 consular/visa officers on travel document security and fraud as part of pre-posting training carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  A wide range of document security features were analysed including security paper, security inks and optically variable devices. Officials were able to examine modern travel documents in detail as part of the training as well as gaining an understanding of how much more sophisticated documents have become in recent years.  Additionally there was a consideration of the forms that document fraud can take including the challenge posed to criminals by polymer biographical details pages in travel documents. The officials were all new to the subject matter but were “exceptionally engaged and receptive to the information provided” according to Mark Richmond, IOM’s Training and Border Management Specialist.
 
 
 
18 March 2015
Fourth Project Steering Committee Meeting Presents Updates on Border and Migration Management

On 18 March Georgian state bodies, diplomatic representatives of EU Member States and international organizations convened in the Public Service Hall in Tbilisi to discuss progress in implementation of the EU-funded “More for More” project.
                                                                                                
IOM used this opportunity to brief the participants about the activities implemented over the past 5 months, focusing on the large range of capacity building activities engaging various Georgian government bodies, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. IOM also highlighted the positive step forward taken by the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, when they recently announced a grant programme for NGOs to expand reintegration assistance services in Georgia for returned migrants. This is a positive signal of the growing commitment of Georgian authorities and corresponds exactly to the spirit of the “More for More” programme and underlying principles of Georgia’s Migration Strategy.
                                                               
For the coming quarter, IOM has planned up to 20 concrete activities, ranging from training in fraudulent document detection for Patrol Police officers to a comprehensive assessment of Georgia’s approach to risk management in the border control setting.
 
For more details please
 
 
 
10 - 12 March 2015
Presentation Skills Training for 8 Revenue Service Officials
With European Union funding and at the request of the Revenue Service of Georgia, IOM trained 8 officials in Presentational Skills from 10-12 March 2015. The trainees included those specialising in project planning, risk analysis as well as representatives from border posts, the Legal Department and the Department for International Relations. In closing the training Maka Khvedelidze, Deputy Head of the International Relations Department emphasized the great importance of such courses in ensuring that the Revenue Service presents itself accurately and with impact. Ms. Khvedelidze expressed sincere thanks to IOM for the training and requested additional courses of this nature. 
 
 
 
5 - 6 March 2015
Interview Skills Training for 22 Patrol Police Officers
Under the EU-funded project “Reinforcing the Capacities of the Government of Georgia in Border and Migration Management”, IOM conducted interview skills training for 22 Patrol Police officers from Tbilisi International Airport, Red Bridge, Sadakhlo and Kazbegi border checkpoints from 4-5 March 2015. The training was held at the Academy of the Ministry of Interior and designed to enhance existing interviewing skills and share experience of best practice.  The training included focus on both on-entry border interviews as well as those carried out at secondary level.  Participation was active throughout with analysis of passenger scenarios both detailed and followed by well thought out conclusions. The training was led by Mark Richmond, IOM Tbilisi’s Border Management Specialist. 
 
 
 
24 February 2015
Reintegration Working Group convenes to discuss integrated approach
IOM has recently facilitated the 10th session of the Working Group on Reintegration Issues that resorts under the State Commission on Migration Issues.
 
This working group is responsible for developing policies in the field of providing sustainable reintegration programmes for Georgian migrants who return from foreign countries to their native country. During the latest session taking place on 24 February, particular focus was placed on the grant programme that the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees will release soon for implementation by local NGOs for the sake of sustainable reintegration projects for individual returnees. 
 
The Ministry will have up to 400,000  Georgian Lari available for this particular purpose, which is the first time that state budget resources have been made available on top of the funding resources that the EU and its member states have systematically been making available in this area over the past years.

View announcement of Mr. Sozar Subari, MRA Minister
 
 
 
In close cooperation with the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IOM has released a new television clip on the Consular E-Service Portal available at . This portal offers a range of consular services available for Georgian citizens residing abroad and their relatives in Georgia and will greatly facilitate access to consular assistance, especially in remote areas and countries where Georgia does not have diplomatic representation.

Shortly, IOM will also make available to the MFA a video document with detailed guidelines for users on applying this new Consular E-Service Portal.
 
 
 
 
 
 
12 February 2015
IOM Visits Gldani Education Centre
Jointly with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia IOM contributes to the effort of youth to engage in safe migration and conducts regular information meetings for students of vocational education colleges throughout Georgia. During the meeting with students of Gldani Vocational Education College IOM discussed the topics of legal employment abroad, education, grants and scholarships, exchange programmes for youth and threats and means of preventing illegal migration. Students learned about experiences of different returnees, who also participated in the meeting. IOM disseminated relevant information materials.  

Ms. Ketevan Natriashvili, the First Deputy Minister of Education and Science, addressed students during the meeting and encouraged them to always make the right decision and choose safe migration. Mr. Giorgi Narimanidze, Head of Migration Department at MRA, introduced More for More project that supports sustainable reintegration of Georgian returnees. Gldani Vocational Education College presented its new “Migration Corner” that forms part of the college library now and will provide interested students with up-to-date information on migration.  


 
 
 
26 - 30 January 2015
EU Expert Conducts Rules of Origin Training Course for the Revenue Service of Georgia
From 26-30 January 2015 IOM continued its support for the Revenue Service of Georgia (RS) under the European Union (EU) funded project "Enhanced Cooperation for Secure Borders and Safe Migration".  On 27 June 2014 Georgia signed an Association Agreement with the EU.  Following the signing of this historic free trade deal, Georgia requires assistance from EU Member States in dealing with new and unfamiliar procedures. The RS requested that IOM identify expertise in the specific matter of Rules of Origin. IOM approached the National Customs Board of Latvia to request that Senior Customs Officer Maruta Znotina be allowed to share her expertise in Rules of Origin matters with Georgian counterparts. Ms. Znotina subsequently planned a training course for 20 RS officers in conjunction with a senior officer from the RS.  This collaboration in training preparation was suggested by IOM to help consolidate the new training material within the existing RS curriculum. Maka Khvedelidze Deputy Head of the RS International Relations Department commented "We are grateful to IOM for supporting the RS in this important matter and particularly for identifying an expert with the specific knowledge that is required."

Also see and
 
 
 
21 January 2015
IOM and MIA in Support of Humane Return of Foreign Nationals
On 21 January 2015 the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (MIA) in support of offering humane return options for foreigners who reside irregularly in Georgia and will be accommodated in MIA’s holding centre. This new development will allow IOM to expand its Assisted Voluntary Programme in Georgia also for migrants who will be accommodated in this new holding centre, which is expected to start operating from March 2015 onwards.

 
 
 
4 December 2014
IOM Mobility Centre Meets With Potential Migrants in Tserovani
On 4 December 2014 IOM Mobility Centre visited Tserovani and met with potential migrants, local Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), IDPs from densely populated settlements, local self-government and NGO representatives. The meeting focused on legal migration opportunities and on avoiding threats that accompany illegal migration. IOM representative provided detailed information on the topics that were of most interest to the participants, such as legal employment opportunities, education and exchange programmes abroad, ways to assess the reliability of job offer and the threats of trafficking in persons. Mr. Giorgi Gogishvili, Head of Migration Centre, spoke about the realities of migration. The meeting participants found thematic documentaries, followed by lively discussion, especially interesting. Mr. Giorgi Narimanidze, Head of the Migration and Repatriation Department of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia (MRA), presented to the audience eligibility criteria and reintegration assistance available to Georgian returnees through Mobility Centres with the EU support. 
 
 
 

 
The Law of Georgia on Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons was amended in November 2014. According to the amendments, aliens staying in Georgia will enjoy the preferential terms for obtaining residence permit and immigration visa during transitional period. At the same time, the amendments introduce the legal grounds for long-term staying of persons having the status of compatriot, and simplified procedures for transiting the territory of Georgia for performers of international cargo transportation. The amendments to the Law were approved by the president of Georgia and they have been posted on the website of the LEPL Legislative Herald of Georgia.
 
Full text of the Law on Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons is available
 
 
 
28 November 2014
IOM hosted the third Steering Committee meeting of the More-for-More project on 28 November 2014 in the Public Service Hall in Tbilisi. Participants were greeted by the Secretariat to the State Commission on Migration Issues of the Public Service Development Agency, followed by representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia IOM and ICMPD.
 
IOM presented a brief flash report focusing on the activities implemented so far in the field of Integrated Border Management, capacity building of Georgian government structures in combating irregular migration, reintegration assistance for returned migrants and progress achieved in the field of migration data management. Both implementing partners, IOM and ICMPD, presented an overview of the expertise from EU Member States applied during the project and discussed achievements and challenges at this stage. The meeting participants engaged in a discussion on the requirements of specific expertise from EU Member States to contribute to further successful implementation of the project and assist the Georgian authorities in successfully implementing the 2nd phase of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan.
 
 
 
24 November 2014
Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia with support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Georgia, organized a donor conference on Border Management Issues. The event was attended by the ambassadors of the European Union, the United States, and other partner countries as well as representatives of international organizations. During the conference, Minister of Internal Affairs underlined the importance of the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the country and reforms conducted within the ministry in that regard. Minister also emphasized the importance of protecting the state borders and implementation of the EU Visa liberalization Action Plan (VLAP). He emphasized the significance of the technical and political support to the reform process by the partner states.

For full info go to 
 
 
 
19 - 21 November 2014
Under the EU funded project “Enhanced Cooperation for Secure borders and Safe Migration” from 19-21 November IOM conducted an Instructional Techniques training course for officials from the Revenue Service of Georgia. The course aims to develop presentational skills for in-house training as well as in representing the Revenue Service both at home and overseas.

Those in attendance included officials from headquarters in Tbilisi as well as from operational positions in key locations such as the Sarpi, Red Bridge and Sadakhlo borders. The training was delivered by IOM’s Border Management & Training Specialist Mark Richmond.    


 
 
 
 
6 - 7 November 2014
Under the EU funded project “Enhanced Cooperation for Secure borders and Safe Migration” IOM arranged for officials from the Human Rights Protection and Monitoring Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Migration Department of the MIA, Border Police, Patrol Police and Criminal Police to attend a two day training course on Migrants’ Rights. Drawing on international best practice and using examples where migrants’ rights were at risk,officials were able to refine their existing expertise as well as considering Migrants’ Rights in the context of the recently introduced Law of Georgia on the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons.        

  
 
 
 
3 - 5 November 2014
Under the EU funded project “Enhanced Cooperation for Secure borders and Safe Migration” IOM arranged for officials from the Migration Department, Prosecutor’s Office, Border Police, Patrol Police and Criminal Police to attend a three day training course (3 - 5 November) on investigation in cases of Migrant Smuggling.  Although not as high profile and serious a challenge as Human Trafficking, organised Smuggling of Migrants is internationally recognized as being a crime to be prioritized by law enforcement authorities.  International Expert Adrian Loxton emphasised in his conclusions that to achieve the desired increase in successful prosecutions it is imperative for the identification, investigation and prosecution arms of government to be coordinated with open and clear communication channels.              

 
 
 
20 - 24 October 2014
From 20-24 October 2014 IOM organized advanced training in document security and fraud for officials from Forensic Main Division of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs.  

The training was carried out by Dutch experts Johan Hollegie and Hendrik Van Zanten.  Officials were trained in a the latest commercial techniques for securing documents as well as analysis of polymer and polymer/cotton blends in both travel documents and currency.  Included in the sessions on document abuse was an extremely well received session on the abuse and unauthorized replacement of RFID chips in European Union e-passports.  The experts left officials in no doubt that travel document abuse evolves in line with the introduction of documents with ever more sophisticated security features.  The closing ceremony was attended by the head of the Forensic Main Division Nugzar Sujashvili and IOM’s Chief of Mission Ilyana Derilova.              
 
 
 
15 - 17 October 2014
From 15-17 October 2014 IOM gathered frontline Georgian Patrol Police border officials from several land and air checkpoints for second tier training in document examination. 

The training was carried out by Dutch experts Johan Hollegie and Henk Van Zanten.  Officers were exposed to up to date commercial techniques for securing documents, analysis of polymer in both travel documents and currency as well as experiencing vigorous testing of their knowledge in examining forged documents at the conclusion of the three days.              
 
 
 
15 October 2014
The Working Group of the State Commission on Migration Issues working on the Consolidation of Reintegration Activities gathered for its 9th extended meeting in Courtyard Marriott Hotel on 15th October. 

The meeting was organized jointly by the coordinating authority of the Working Group – the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, together with the Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues and International Organization for Migration, within the framework of EU-funded project.
              
 
 
 
7 - 9 October 2014
From 7-9 October IOM organised a workshop for officials from the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

The goal of the workshop was to make progress in developing Standard Operating Procedures for the new migrant holding centre in Tbilisi.

Experience from EU member states and other countries was introduced to assist Georgian officials and there was substantial scope for officials to discuss such issues as protecting migrants' rights in the centre as well as examining alternatives to detention in detail.

The workshop was financed by the European Union under "Reinforcing the Capacities of the Government of Georgia in Border and Migration Management".
                                                                
 
 
 
24 - 25 September 2014
IOM Georgia Participated in the Workshop on Migrant Integration before Departure: Perspectives, Approaches and Supporting Measures  
The Workshop - ,,Migrant Integration before Departure: Perspectives, Approaches and Supporting Measures’’   took place in Rome, Italy on 24-25 September 2014 and focused on promoting exchange of practises between pre-departure integration service providers. Pre-departure orientation practices and policies were presented in national context by different countries.
 
Various service providers, Migrant Resource Centres, Public Employment Services, cultural institutes, and private recruitment agencies, consular services of the country of destination, NGOs and international organizations participated in the Workshop, including a representative from the Ministry of internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia.
                                                                  
 
 
 
23 - 25 September 2014
Under the EU funded "Enhanced Cooperation for Secure Borders and Safe Migration" IOM trained 24 officers from the Revenue Service of Georgia in Secure Document and Forgery Examination. 
 
The training course was held in Tbilisi from 23-25 September 2014 at the Academy of the Ministry of Finance and was attended by officers from the border check points at Sadakhlo (with Armenia), Red Bridge (with Azerbaijan) and Kazbegi (with the Russian Federation). 
 
Document examination expert Ian Fotheringham explained a comprehensive range of key issues such as paper security, printing techniques as well as counterfeiting of genuine documents.  He also explained techniques for the identification of impostors - persons travelling across international borders using travel documents issued to other persons.  
 
 
 
 
IOM Releases Its Latest Newsletter on the Readmission Management Project

Following this you will be able to download the latest newsletter that IOM has produced about the project on the management of readmission in Georgia. This newsletter presents the main achievements of this project, consisting in particular of the successful introduction of the Electronic Readmission Management System, which is an innovative tool for managing requests for readmission from EU Member States and the inter-ministerial processing of those requests by the Georgian authorities.
 
IOM continues to implement this project until February 2015, with generous support from the European Union.
 
 
 
 
From 17 to 19 September Georgian prosecutors gathered in the town of Kachreti to participate in a training dedicated to enhancing their capacities in prosecuting the crime of trafficking in human beings.
 
Nineteen prosecutors, among them the specialized prosecutors who are members of the Counter-Trafficking Task Force of Georgia, engaged with experts from the USA to discuss effective ways of prosecuting traffickers and assisting victims of trafficking in preparing testimonies against their traffickers during court proceedings.
 
Federal Prosecutor Michelle Morgan was invited to deliver this training together with experts from the US Embassy in Tbilisi. This event was organized by IOM and financed by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the US Department of State
 
Also  (courtesy of the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Georgia)
 
 
 
 
2 September 2014
Equipment to Enhance the Combat Against Trafficking in Persons
On 2 September IOM transferred technical equipment to the Counter-Trafficking Task Force, which is an entity operating from Batumi under the Criminal Police Department in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. The equipment consists of 8 tablets (one for each member of the Task Force), which will enable the police officers to have live access and verify information on Ministry’s various databases concerning possible suspects during surveillance and other out-of-office operations.

This equipment has been donated with the support from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the US Department of State.
 
 
 
 
 
Mobility Centre Flash Reports # 4
In the summer of 2014 the Mobility Centre organized 12 information meeting for 317 potential migrants in Imereti, Kakheti, Zemo Svaneti and Samegrelo. More than 250 returned migrants received individual counseling on vocational education and business start‐up opportunities, available medical assistance, legalization of documentation, employment and other issues of their interest. IOM Georgia that present a brief overview of the activities of the Information and Consultation and Reintegration Assistance Units of IOM’s Mobility Centres in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi and Telavi ever since these started operating. The centres operate under the framework of the EU-funded project “Reinforcing the Capacities of the Government of Georgia in Border and Migration Management” – Enhanced Cooperation for Secure Borders and Safe Migration. 
 
 
 
 
EU Expert to Conduct Assessment of Data Management Practices of Georgia 
IOM invited Mr. Eivind Hoffmann, Data Management Expert from Norway, to conduct thorough assessment of current migration data management practices of Georgia.
 
During his visit in Tbilisi, Mr. Hoffman will hold meetings with the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Justice/Public Services Development Agency, IDPs from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, Diaspora as well as Geostat to assess analytical capacity and offer recommendations on enhancing the system for  data collection, processing, analysis and inter-agency exchange in line with national requirements and legislation and for the benefit of informed migration policy development in Georgia.

The overall objective of the visit is to provide the GoG with recommendations and key steps necessary to achieve better migration statistics at the national level and recommendations on the possible interoperability of migration databases for efficient migration information management in Georgia.
 
 
 
25 August 2014
 
On 25 August 2014 IOM made a presentation and lead a discussion session concerning the challenges to be faced with the increase in visa applications that will be received from 1st September 2014 when the new regulations concerning aliens comes into force.  With 61 MFA officials serving overseas gathered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tbilisi, IOM used its in-house experience to guide officials on best practice in dealing with significantly increased volumes of applications.  Discussion was lively and IOM engaged in healthy discussion of the challenges to be faced and possible solutions with Georgian diplomats serving in various countries including Qatar, Ethiopia, India, Egypt and China.
 
 
 
 
 
IOM Assists in Disseminating Information on New Application Rules for Georgian Visas
IOM has supplied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia large quantities of a flyers that outlines the new rules for the application for a Georgian entry visa. These new rules will enter into force on 1 September 2014, as part of the newly adopted law “On the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons”. This flyer is currently being disseminated to foreigners arriving to Georgia at Tbilisi Airport and other major ports of entry.

The new visa application rules foresee, among other changes, that applications for Georgian visas are lodged with Georgian consular representations abroad, prior to traveling to Georgia. As a general rule, Georgian visas will not be issued at the border any longer, as has been the practice until now.

Another novelty is the portal , where applicants for Georgian visas can get information on the new procedures and lodge their applications online.

This flyer and the electronic visa application portal (which is part of the broader Consular Electronic Management System) have been produced with direct support from IOM and receive generous funding from the European Union through its “Thematic Programme for Cooperation with Third Countries in the Areas of Migration and Asylum”.
 
You can download the flyer .