Bulgaria has been a member of IOM since 1994. In 2000, a Cooperation Agreement between Bulgaria and IOM officially entered into force. Ratified by the National Assembly and followed by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, it provides the IOM Mission in Bulgaria the same privileges and immunities as those of UN Specialized Agencies under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies of 1947.
Overview of the Cooperation Between IOM Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Government
- Bulgaria became a member of IOM in 1999.
- The IOM Mission in Bulgaria was established in 2000.
- In 2009, IOM Bulgaria and the Ministry of Interior signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the voluntary return and reintegration of third-country nationals. In 2015, a new and more detailed Cooperation Agreement for long-term partnership between IOM and the Ministry of Interior was adopted.
- IOM Bulgaria and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy signed a Cooperation Agreement in the field of labor integration.
- Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs usually attend sessions and meetings of the IOM Council.
The Mission of IOM Bulgaria consists of a head office in Sofia and a regional Migrant Information Center for legally residing migrants in Burgas. Another field office is present in the Harmanli.
IOM Bulgaria seeks to assist the government in the development and implementation of migration policies that respond effectively to modern migration realities and challenges, aiming at the optimal balance between observing the principles of free movement of people, controlling irregular migration and protecting the human rights of migrants.
IOM strives to help build stable migration management structures responsive to the increasing external migration flows, stimulate regular and prevent irregular migration, diversify the services offered to migrants and inform the public on all issues and aspects of migration.
Given the public and social importance of trafficking in human beings, IOM Bulgaria will continue to follow its long-term strategy, assisting the development of national mechanisms to combat and counteract trafficking in human beings and support victims of trafficking.
Thematic Areas of Activity of IOM Bulgaria
1. Assisting migration
- Assisted voluntary return and reintegration of third-country nationals.
- Legal and psycho-social support.
2. Counteracting trafficking in human beings
- Return and reintegration of victims of trafficking.
- Protection of victims.
3. Strengthening national administrative capacity
- Needs assessments, drafting of recommendations and support in their realization.
- Providing support for the integration of third-country nationals legally residing in Bulgaria, including beneficiaries of international protection.
- Information sessions and consultations on social orientation and cultural adaptation.
- Bulgarian language courses.
5. Support for migrants
- Needs and vulnerability assessments.
- Provision of social, psychological and legal assistance.
- A team of interpreters.
- Providing material support (clothing, etc.).
- Organizing social and cultural events for the community and the host society.
Mixed migration flows:
- Third-country nationals
- Applicants for and beneficiaries of international protection
- Victims of trafficking in human beings
- Unaccompanied children
- Economic migrants
- Migrants returning to their country of origin