Evaluation of the Global Assistance for Irregular Migrants Program

4 Conclusions and Recommendations

There is a continued need for the GAIM program as it is an integral component of Canada's Migrant Smuggling Prevention Strategy. The program is aligned with CIC priorities related to managed migration and with the broader Government of Canada priority of preventing migrant smuggling. Furthermore, the GAIM program is in keeping with the roles and responsibilities of the federal government as a signatory to the United Nations Protocol Against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

Immediate and intermediate outcomes associated with the GAIM program have been largely achieved, albeit based on only one significant case that required program implementation in West Africa. In this case, the IOM, through the GAIM program, has provided assistance in order to meet the stranded migrants' basic needs and has facilitated their return to their country of origin, Sri Lanka. Targeted activities to raise awareness of the risks of irregular migration and to provide information on safe migration in Sri Lanka have also been undertaken. Based on the experience in West Africa, early results suggest that knowledge and awareness of irregular and safe migration has improved among those who voluntarily returned to Sri Lanka. Although it is too soon to determine the long-term success of their reintegration, IOM evidence reveals that migrants who returned to Sri Lanka had positive views about being reunited with family and friends, but were less positive about their financial prospects. Many migrants surveyed by the IOM indicated that a worsening of their financial situation or a deterioration of the security situation in their home country could increase the likelihood of remigration.

While the GAIM program has been successful in achieving its expected outcomes since its transfer to CIC, there may be a potential for duplication of activities undertaken by CIC and DFATD to build capacity to deter human smuggling in potential source countries or transit points. DFATD has a commitment under its Anti-Crime Capacity-Building program to address the issue of migrant smuggling and enhance cooperation with source and transit countries, which can conflict with the GAIM program's separate commitments to undertake capacity-building activities within the context of managing the consequences of an irregular migration. The delineation between ongoing capacity-building activities (under DFATD) and capacity-building activities undertaken within the context of managing an irregular migration (under CIC) is not clear. It is therefore recommended that:

Recommendation #1: CIC, in consultation with DFATD, should clarify respective roles and responsibilities with respect to capacity-building activities related to the GAIM program.

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