Migrant Resource Centre inaugurated in Baghdad by the Iraqi Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and ICMPD

Baghdad, Iraq: With the support of the European Union and co-funding from Norway, and drawing on its extensive experience in setting up, operating and developing such Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) is able to utilise this knowledge and experience in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for the benefit of Iraqi citizens.

The fundamental objective of the MRC is to provide clear and understandable information on possibilities for orderly migration, as well as rules and regulations, including relevant pre-departure information, to potential migrants. Raising awareness of the risks and dangers associated with irregular migration is another aim of the MRC. These efforts seek to warn potential emigrants about exploitation by organised groups of people smugglers as well as to protect them from human trafficking. The Centre also provides post-arrival assistance and information on reintegration services in Iraq. Post-arrival assistance will also be provided to foreign workers in Iraq, supporting migrants in Iraq with information on laws, regulations, customs and norms. ICMPD has developed extensive training modules in Arabic and English in cooperation with the Ministry, which will both be available for in person trainings as well as in the form of online courses.

In Iraq, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and ICMPD jointly established the Migrant Resource Centre at the ministry’s premises in February 2020. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic severely impacting mobility and migration, the MRC has been able to begin and develop its work by harnessing digital tools and channels. Information and counselling sessions are held online while social media channels provide information, advice and an extensive set of dos and don’ts for migrants and would-be migrants. The Iraq MRC Facebook page alone already has over 20,000 followers and the MRC has reached over two million people over its social media channels. “Whether they have concrete plans, are considering leaving the country or just want to know more, all Iraqi citizens need accurate information and sound counselling to take good decisions regarding their respective futures” said ICMPD Director General, Michael Spindelegger.

Iraq’s Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, H.E. Dr Adel Al-Rikabi, highlighted “the importance of this Centre in providing clear information, advise migrants, raise awareness about irregular migration and its related risks” and underlined the excellent support of ICMPD, the European Union and Norway. The European Union Ambassador to Iraq, Martin Huth, added that ’’the Migrant Resource Center will be a reference point to empower individuals in knowing their rights and obligations when considering to migrate and in making informed and dignified decisions about legal migration pathways, outlining as well in accessible language the dangers of irregular migration. We celebrate today this achievement and the close collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and ICMPD.’’

The Migrant Resource Centre in Baghdad has been set up and is run with funding from the European Union and the Kingdom of Norway.

The national MRC hotline number is 800 50 555 and the Facebook page can be accessed at https://www.mrciraq.iq