14 October 2018
Migration practitioners from the EU Member States and Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries recently gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia on 11 and 12 October 2018, to share best practices on information campaigns raising migrants’ awareness about their rights and obligations when travelling to the European Union visa-free or under the provisions of a Schengen visa.
The EU Member States and partner countries increasingly use such campaigns to help migrants make informed decisions since they often lack information or rely on false claims.
As noted by H.E. Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia, “Unfortunately, the recent statistics have shown an overall increase in irregular migration trends among nationals of the Eastern Partnership countries. This raises serious concerns among the EU Member States and such concerns are equally shared by the partner countries which have already taken action to strengthen their information campaigns and approach the European Commission bilaterally for cooperation and assistance.”
According to the data provided by the European Commission, Directorate General for Migration and Home Affair (DG HOME), a total of 22,287 detections of irregular stay of nationals of the three EaP visa-free countries (Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine) were reported between January and June 2018, representing a 7 per cent increase compared with the same period of last year.
The visa-free regime between the European Union and Ukraine was introduced in June 2017. Since May last year, an awareness-raising campaign has been conducted for the citizens of Ukraine regarding their rights and obligations when travelling to the European Union visa-free. Before the campaign was launched, only 33 per cent of Ukrainians knew that visa free regime allows to stay in the EU countries not more than 90 days. As a result of the campaign, this share has increased almost two-fold, up to 61 per cent.
Common challenges and possible further joint actions have been discussed at the recent meeting of the Eastern Partnership Panel on Migration, Mobility and Integrated Border Management. The event was held with the support of the Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration issues of Georgia, the European Commission and the International Organization for Migration, Mission in Ukraine. IOM also facilitated an interactive session on best practices of information campaigns development, monitoring and evaluation.
For more information and meeting materials please follow the link.