News & Events


As part of the project “Strengthening the dialogue and cooperation between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC)”, IOM has carried out a pilot project that aims to prepare the groundwork to generate efficient and transparent information about transferring remittances. The goal of this project is to generate sources of information for Colombian migrants in the United Kingdom to allow them to take informed decisions regarding remittances.

To fulfill these aims, on the 28th November 2014 at 6.00 pm, IOM UK hosted an event to launch the website “Remesas Colombia” ( Colombian migrants, members of different grass roots organizations that work with Latin American migrants, as well as managers from different Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) all attended the event. The launch of the website aimed to address the challenges that exist in the area of remittances and migration within the community. The event also provided the opportunity for feedback to be gathered from everyone who attended.

Remittances sent home are undeniably important components of development as well as benefiting the economy of many countries. In the case of Colombia, remittances sent home by migrants represent the third highest source of income to the country’s economy. However, migrants do not necessarily have access to clear information about the different services available, the costs involved in the transactions and the choice of MTOs. To identify their needs, IOM carried out different discussion groups with the Colombian migrant community in order to collect information about their understanding of the remittances market and to determine their knowledge of and access to financial services in the UK and Colombia. Additionally, many different migrant organisations within the UK acted as a bridge to provide access to the wider community of Colombian migrants.

The website “Remesas Colombia” would stand as a reliable source of information on remittances. IOM also hopes this website will be the first of many others steps to provide adequate and up to date information to migrants, to permit them to make better and informed decisions when sending money home.

156 Member States will gather to review IOM’s work in 2014 including its programmes and budget for 2015. IOM UK is particularly thrilled to announce that this year’s Council meeting will grant two organisations from the UK the Observer Status* : AFFORD and Migrant Help. This is due to the close and cordial relationship with both the organisations as a result of working together over the years in the field of migration and development and counter-trafficking respectively, which has led to enhanced project implementation for common causes.

AFFORD is a pioneering diaspora-development organisation set up in the UK in 1994 with the mission to “expand and enhance the contribution that Africans in the diaspora make to Africa’s development’’.

AFFORD and IOM UK have been collaborating since the 2006 UN High-level Dialogue (HLD) and more intensely in 2013 as part of the HLD and post 2015 processes. Since 2011, IOM UK has consistently worked towards strengthening relations with AFFORD in the engagement, enablement and empowerment activities for African diaspora organisations through capacity building policy and advocacy training.

Most recently, IOM UK has successfully collaborated with AFFORD on the mapping of Sierra Leonean and Basotho diaspora health care workers in the UK. Joint training initiatives have also been facilitated, as in the training of Foreign Ministry staff of Ethiopia and Ghana.

“As the issue of mobility moves up the international agenda, we are keen to deepen present and future collaboration in the field of migration, diaspora and development, specifically on: post 2015; enterprise and employment; remittances and investment; engagement and capacity building; research, policy and advocacy” Onyekachi Wambo, Director Engagement and Policy, AFFORD.

Migrant Help is an independent, non-campaigning national charity which has been delivering support and advice services to migrants for more than 50 years. They provide vulnerable individuals with the resources and support they need to find safety, access appropriate services and develop greater independence.

The relationship between IOM UK and Migrant Help has developed into a vital collaboration of work to reduce modern day slavery and migrant suffering, through joint projects in the field of counter trafficking and in enhancing the return and reintegration process of migrants. IOM UK and Migrant Help have an ongoing commitment to working partnerships that includes but is not limited to joint work through the UK Institute for Migration Research, joint awareness raising events with the IOM UK, collaborative presentations for the World Migration Report, Stronger Together anti-trafficking training and Assisted Voluntary Return.

“As IOM Chief of Mission in the UK, it has been my priority to enhance collaboration with other agencies and academia to ensure a better understanding of migration issues, maximising migrants’ positive contributions and better support offered to migrants in need” Clarissa Azkoul, IOM UK Chief of Mission in the UK

*Observer status is a privilege granted by some organizations to non-members to give them an ability to participate in the organization's activities.