NIRVA (Network Italiano Ritorno Volontario Assistito) and the programs of voluntary return for Albanians citizens

Maria Annunziata Accardo

 The first project of voluntary return from Italy to Albania was  W.A.R.M. – Welcome Again: Reinsertion of Migrants, directed to the immigrants who arrived in Italy in 1992 and 1997. The program lasted 36 months (2006-2008) and the beneficiaries were 512 immigrants (intended purpose: 300 immigrants).

The program was created by the Italian Caritas, Albanian Caritas in accordance with the Italian Ministry of Interior and the Municipal government of Rome.

The project aims to socioeconomic reintegration of Albanians returnees through their insertion on labour market or micro-enterprises creation. Behind the project is also the desire to raise the Albanians and Italians authorities aware of the problem of migrants’ return.

  • The activities planned in the project are:
  • Training and development of the project with the creation of protocols with Italians and Albanians authorities;
  • Facilitate the labour insertion of returnees and support the creation of sustainable micro-enterprises;
  • Make Italian and Albanian local authorities more aware and sensitive of returnees problems;
  • Training of the operators of both in Italy and in Albania;
  • Awareness of the potential returnees in Italy, before returning, with the distribution of information materials;
  • Creating a database with the interviews of potential beneficiaries of the program;
  • Psychological support for action on the possible trauma resulting in the return.

 The notice provided for funding (by the Ministry of Interior) of up 7.000 Euros for farm, which could reach 10.000 if the proposal was consider particularly innovative.

To evaluate the sustainability (lasting nature) of return, we have to wait few years, when the program will deployed all its effects.

NIRVA (Network Italiano per i Ritorni Volontari Assisistiti) was born in 2008 with the aim of assisting and supporting migrants who choose the option of voluntary return, and it was founding by the Ministry of Interior and the European Union by the European Return Found; the project is run by OIM (Organizzazione Internazionale per le Migrazioni), AICCREE (Associazione Italiana per il Consiglio dei  Comuni e delle Regioni d’Europa), CIR (Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiat) and OXFAM.

The project was divided into two phases:

First phase (completed in June 2010) – has promoted integrated actions to educate and inform about the subject of voluntary return, with the composing into a single network all the public and private organizations that, in various ways, working with immigrants. The project has:

  • Started the network with about 120 public and private organizations representing all the regional territories for information on the voluntary return and to report cases;
  • Made materials and information products (brochures in 10 languages and the website;
  • Promoted the cooperation with other Countries trough information sessions with Embassies and Consulates of the Countries most involved in the voluntary return’s extent.

Second Phase (launched in June 2010), the intervention has:

  • Established a model of management for the network NIRVA in continuity with the first phase, identifying, among the members, one ANTENNA OF REFERENCE FOR SINGLE REGION, which works in synergy with the national working Staff, for the implementation of information activities and reporting cases at the network. Each ANTENNA operates in according with the Police Prefectures of Region;
  • Experienced a form of distance communication among members of the network (ReteInformativa Ritorno – RIR);
  • Integrated cooperation measures with third Countries.

Is also provided a III phase, which aim is to strengthen the promotion of Network and cooperation among members in all national territory.

So the network’s recipients in Italy are:

  • The public or private organizations involved in the Network and those potentially interested to adhere;
  • The migrants interested to access at programs of voluntary return.

In the Countries identified for the programs’ actions: institutional partners and network to be involved directly in the implementation of migrants’ reintegration projects.

Excluded from the programs:

  • UE citizens;
  • Holders of a residence permits (for a long period);
  • Who has received an expulsion order.

Within the network NIRVA there are many programs, and many of these are addressed to specific categories of immigrants and others operate only at local level. The program that operates at national level and turns to all immigrants’ categories is called PARTIR, the others programs are called R.I.V.A.N. – for the Nord African migrants; REMPLOY – provides assistance to migrants workers who residing in 4 regions of Northern Italy (Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto e Emilia-Romagna); REMIDA – to Moroccan citizens. All the programs included the four phases: assistance during the pre-departure, during the journey and at arrival, help and support for the reintegration.

The program that addressed to the Albanian citizens is called ODISSEO II (, that is directed to Albanians  former unaccompanied minors and young adults, present on Italy’s territory, who don’t longer possessed the conditions to stay in Italy or for the renewal the residence permit, and voluntarily choose to return in their country of origin, taking advantage of paths of the socio-cultural and educational work-customized and shared.

After the selection of beneficiaries, trough special interview, will proceed to definition of personalized micro-project, based on the ability of the candidate, and the opportunities present in the territory where he will return.  All selected candidates will be accompanied in Durres or Fier in family, or where they will be hosted in a residential structure where will give they  assistance ( legal and economic) in search of a home.

At this particular moment will be closed to the youth a team of multidisciplinary intervention, that will aim to:

  • Coordinate all the project’s cycle;
  • Support the youth to solving economics, bureaucratic problems;
  • Manage and direct the beneficiaries of the program.

 At the end of the first orientation period the youth will be accompanied in the district where will choose the company or educational course or the house. Every candidate will be constantly followed during the development of micro-project and its
activities evaluated and monitored by the team.

Objectives of the program:

  • Promote and facilitate the approach of the Voluntary Return as a alternative measure to forced return;
  • Facilitate access and promote the wider use to the program of voluntary return;
  • Facilitate the cooperation between the Italian and Albanian authorities.


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