In the context of the Remploy III project, funded by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration, and the European Return Fund, Etimos Foundation has created a handbook on microfinance and set up mentoring activities for migrants returning to their countries of origin.
The project has seen the active involvement of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Professional Training Association of the Patronato San Vincenzo.
The Remploy program was born in 2012 to respond to the needs and aspirations of immigrant workers residing in Italy, who lost their jobs due the crisis, and were at risk of also losing their residence permit and becoming irregular in the territory. For this reason, some had begun to consider returning to their country of origin and starting an economic activity there for the sake of their livelihood and that of their family.
For these returnees and to provide them with the appropriate tools for their reintegration, the program included some pre-startup mentoring activities dedicated to teaching how to set up a microenterprise in one’s country of origin, and how to develop a business plan to be funded with goods and services by IOM.
The first two phases of the Remploy programme have had positive results. The vast majority of assisted migrants were able to start up a microenterprise, and were satisfied with the assistance they received. Some migrants have demonstrated entrepreneurial skills and broad ambitions. These early experiences led to the idea of expanding the project and obtaining additional resources, through access to microcredit, for those cases in which the socio-economic potential of the reintegration project provides an added value at local level, including job creation.
With the development of this toolkit and the assistance in accessing microcredit in the form of mentoring by experts specialised in microfinance in the countries of origin, the Remploy III project aims to actualise this possibility and make it accessible to all potential returning migrants.