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Expanding virtual counselling: A dedicated forum for knowledge sharing and learning

An IOM Counsellor on the phone with a beneficiary in Cameroon.
An IOM Counsellor on the phone with a beneficiary in Cameroon. IOM 2022 / Beyond Borders Media

Migration is a life-changing process involving difficult decisions. People can arrive at a destination and then choose to return home for many different reasons. After living in a new country, the decision to return home could bring up lots of questions. Without clear answers, taking the decision to return could cause uncertainty, stress and anxiety.

In the past years, the use of digital tools has greatly supported processes around migration, and specifically the implementation of virtual return counselling and information provision to migrants, with the aim to increase their awareness of and access to information related to return and reintegration programmes, while also adopting a tailored approach based on their specific situations and vulnerabilities.

Virtual counselling has proven to be particularly useful to address some drawbacks of physical counselling and to promote a rights-based approach to return migration. It represents a way to easily bridge countries of origin, host or transit countries throughout the migrant’s decision-making process, and in the return and reintegration phases, and thereby establishes transparency and trust in return and reintegration programmes. Virtual counselling also allows migrants to access culturally sensitive, clear, and factual information in their native language about realistic options to return to their country of origin no matter where they are located.

Recognizing the need to strengthen knowledge and promote exchange of best practices on this matter, IOM has launched a dedicated Virtual Counselling forum on the Community of Practice of the Return and Reintegration Platform. The forum provides a learning space for counsellors and case managers in both host and countries of origin and encourages the joint exploration of solutions to challenges experienced. This space is committed to cultivating meaningful and consistent interactions and encourage members to engage in the discussions. 

JOIN the forum NOW!

how to register and contribute to the FORUM step-by-step


  1. Login or sign up to the Return and Reintegration Platform's Community of Practice;
  2. Click on Groups and then on the sub-group Counselling;
  3. Make sure to Join the group to be able to contribute to it!
  4. Click on the topic Expanding virtual counselling: A dedicated space for knowledge sharing and learning to start posting comments to the discussion!
  5. We look forward to your contributions!

How to join the discussion in the community of practiceThrough a Swedish funded project "From Policy to Practice: Operationalizing a Rights-based Approach to Return and Reintegration", IOM is establishing virtual counselling structures in both host countries and countries of origin globally. Through these structures, migrants are provided with information prior to their voluntary return. The project aims at providing an easily accessible, culturally sensitive, and unbiased counselling service to migrants seeking information on return and reintegration options.