Between 15 and 17 November 2022, Australia and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) co-chaired the fifth Technical Experts Group on Returns and Reintegration (TEG-RR) meeting of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (Bali Process), virtually.
In attendance were representatives from Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Timor Leste, and Viet Nam, member organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and International Labour Organization (ILO), the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO), Bali Process Working Group on Trafficking in Persons (TIP WG), and Working Group on Disruption of Criminal Networks with People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons (Disruption WG).
Participants presented updates and discussed issues pertaining to the topic of returns and reintegration including:
- Participants recognised that the worldwide and regional irregular migration landscape continues to change in reaction to theCOVID-19 pandemic, and is responding to the re-opening of global travel channels.
- Members were asked to provide feedback and advice on the need to upgrade the TEG-RR Terms of Reference (TOR), TEG-RR Objectives and the 2019 Policy Guide on Returns and Reintegration in response to the evolving nature of the forum.
- RSO and IOM officials updated the TEG-RR on current trends and challenges, priorities, best practices, lessons learned, and the future state of returns and reintegration work.
- ILO officials shared their experiences of the impact COVID-19 had on governments due to the mass return of migrants to origin countries and advised that governments be prepared for future mass movements.
- TEG-RR members updated on the current challenges, priorities and examples of good practices.
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) discussed durable solutions to displacement through returns and reintegration and highlighted that repatriation must continue to be voluntary.
- The Bali Process Working Group on Trafficking in Persons (TIP WG) and the Disruption of People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Networks Working Group (DWG) shared their insights, knowledge and achievements and expressed intention to work with TEG-RR.
Participants agreed on the following:
- A call for volunteers was made for a sub-working group to review the TEG-RR TOR and Bali Process Policy Guide on Returns and Reintegration.
- To identify volunteers to develop a Forward Work Plan (FWP) and to commence development of the FWP through a survey expected to be sent through members.
- TEG-RR’s focus going forward will be on further development and progression of the TEG-RR FWP expected to be finalised prior to the end of Q2 2023.