Holy cow! 96 migrants get grants and free f lights to go home
A MILKING cow, a second-hand car, and a ladder and paints were among the items purchased last year by the taxpayer as part of a scheme for returning migrants to their home countries.
Under the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration programme, the State provides support of up to €1,000 as well as free flights to encourage people to leave Ireland. Last year, almost €980,000 was spent on the scheme to support sending 96 people home, which averages at over €10,000 per person.
Those who qualify for the scheme can get €600 per individual or €1,000 per family to support their reintegration back home.
Information obtained under Freedom of Information legislation reveals a wide variety of small business grants from last year for applicants to set up their own business. According to the Justice Department, the business ideas included, ‘the purchase of equipment to open a bakery; purchase of materials to work as a painter, the purchase of clothing to set up a clothing stall, the purchase of a milking cow, purchase of a second-hand car to work as a taxi driver, and the purchase of equipment to work as a welder’.
In the past, other grants have helped people set up a beauty salon, a car repair shop, and an entertainment business.
Applicants can also get grants to help them learn a new skill that they can put to use in finding work. Among the successful applications in 2017 were a person who was given legal secretarial training and another who took part in a ‘continuous professional development pharmacy course’ to ensure the person could continue to work in the pharmacy profession.
Grants are also available for other needs including help with chronic medical conditions. Of the 96 who took part, 34 were from Brazil, seven from Ukraine, five from Malawi and five from Georgia. The nationality of the other 45 applicants were not given.
The Department of Justice said a ‘significant number’ of illegal migrants from non-EU countries and asylum seekers whose cases have not been decided choose to voluntarily return home.
‘[The financial assistance] can be an important factor in encouraging individuals to make the decision to avail of the voluntary return option and eases the transition back to their countries of origin.’
The principal advantage for those in the scheme is they can apply to legally enter Ireland in the future.