PRESS RELEASE - Comprehensive Migration Governance in the Western Balkans: The Regional Group of Readmission Specialists Meets in Tirana

Tirana, 4-5 June 2024 – The Regional Group of Readmission Specialists (RGRS) held its second thematic meeting this week in Albania. Bringing together delegations from the Western Balkans (WB), Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, the meeting focused on enhancing cooperation with countries of origin toward comprehensive migration governance.   

The absence of agreements with key countries of origin is a major challenge to cooperation on migration governance that includes the full spectrum of the migration continuum. Additionally, the increasing demand for labor in the WB, noted by the RGRS members, poses a risk of regular migrants becoming irregular. 

This highlights the urgent need for improved cooperation and coordination to create a comprehensive migration governance approach that integrates potential labor mobility schemes with return and readmission cooperation, creating regular pathways to meet the increased labor demands in the WB region and in turn address the risks of irregular migration. 

“We recognize the need to unlock the potential of migration by fostering regular pathways. Migration and mobility should be at the heart of our discussions. A regional approach and the harmonization of policies are among the most crucial steps forward”, encouraged Donatella Bradić, IOM Western Balkans Senior Programme Coordinator and IOM Serbia Chief of Mission.  

During the meeting, specialists from the Western Balkans, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan jointly identified and formulated common priorities for future collaboration. Together with experts, they explored various themes such as single work permits and alternatives to readmission agreements, as well as best practices. The meeting provided an opportunity for delegations to reinforce cooperation through bilateral meetings tailored to the contexts of each delegation, defining the concrete steps to further advance the collaboration. 

"Today's discussion marks the beginning of a meaningful dialogue. We have many options and possibilities before us, each requiring tailored approaches beyond traditional readmission. Adhering to international standards and principles is crucial. Our primary concern should be the protection and empowerment of migrants, ensuring that protection concerns are embedded in normative frameworks. Migrants are resilient and ambitious; their drive fosters innovation and unlocks the transformative power of migration”, concluded Donatella Bradić. 

Effective migration governance requires collaborative efforts across ministries and government sectors. Promoting synergies between return management, development cooperation, and humanitarian assistance interventions is crucial. Prioritizing the well-being of migrants is key to sustainable outcomes. 

Established in 2023, the RGRS serves as a pivotal platform for exchanging knowledge and experiences and facilitating harmonized return management practices and capacities towards a holistic return management approach in the Western Balkans. Launched as part of the Western Balkan Readmission Capacity Building Facility, implemented by the International Organization with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark, the organization of this week’s meeting was also supported by the European Union, within the project “EU Regional Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management Systems in the Western Balkans”.  




For more information, please contact: 

François Lhoumeau, IOM Western Balkans: 

Marinela Gremi, IOM Albania:  

SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions