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Repatriation: Zimbabwe

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will review her policy on assisting Zimbabwean nationals resident in the UK to return to their country of origin to take account of changes in the political situation in Zimbabwe. (257757)

Zimbabweans have continued to return home voluntarily. Each returnee has been eligible for the basic voluntary assisted return and reintegration package to assist with their reintegration needs on return. This programme is implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

We recognise that the economic situation within Zimbabwe presents major challenges to Zimbabwean returnees. In order to make a more effective contribution to sustainable return it was decided that with effect from 1 February 2009 the reintegration assistance available would be enhanced as follows:

A relocation grant increased from £500 to £1,000. This is given in sterling at the airport, before departure, where it can be converted into US dollars.

An in-kind business set-up grant increased from £2,000 to £3,000. £2,500 worth of assistance will be available initially to obtain supplies and a further £500 will be available after a six month review of individual circumstances.

Health education and advice as well as a supply of water purification tablets and a basic commodities and dry goods package.

The enhancement will be implemented for six months as a pilot project.