In the last two decades, in the wake of globalization, movements of people and goods have tremendously increased, calling for the adaptation of immigration and border management structures to better and more efficiently manage people flows and trade. As a consequence, States have been and still are confronted with a common challenge: facilitate movement of legitimate people and goods while maintaining secure borders. In other words, ensure the right balance between open, but at the same time controlled borders.

Efficient border and immigration management policies and structures, supported by professional and well-trained immigration and border officers, foster smooth movement management at borders and prevent irregular migration, but also enable to detect smuggled migrants and trafficked persons with the ultimate objective of dismantling organized crime networks and protecting the rights of these vulnerable persons.

Conscious of the implications of inefficient border management, governments and donors are taking up the challenge and investing more and more in border management reforms.

IOM Belarus activity in Migration and Border Management

Since the moment of the Mission’s foundation back in 1996 IOM Belarus has been actively cooperating with the Government of Belarus and non-governmental/international institutions to strengthen the country’s migration and border management capacity through the provision of educational and technical assistance to the national stakeholders in this domain. The projects that have already been implemented include: 

  • “Belarus-Ukraine common border management” project (1999-2001) targeted at the development and institutionalization of comprehensive border and migration management systems. The overall objective of the project was to create a unified border management system and increase operational capacity of the management of migration processes and migration flows, to improve effectiveness of Belarus-Ukraine border control, provide the State Border Committee and other concerned agencies with up-to-date border management systems and devices.
  • “Selection of Qualified Foreign Workers to the Czech Republic” project (2004-2009) implemented together with the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Minsk. IOM Belarus was mainly responsible for organizing information campaigns for the potential and interested labor migrants from Belarus to the Czech Republic, distributing information about the job opportunities through local media, production and distribution of leaflets for potential migrants, provision of counseling services to the population, as well as verification of documents (mainly university diplomas) of the Belarusian citizens who applied for permanent residence in the Czech Republic.
  • “Strengthening migration management capacity in the Republic of Belarus” project (MIGRABEL, 2007-2009) targeted at the creation of preconditions for the country’s ultimate transition to the application of biometric (e-) passports and visas in Belarus.
  • “Assistance in the development of border plenipotentiaries systems in Belarus and Armenia” (ARBEL, 2011-2012) – country first joint Belarusian-Armenian project. The project developed and introduced common standards in the training of plenipotentiary staff; provided technical and expert support  to the plenipotentiaries of the two states; improved facilities for training of Belarus plenipotentiary staff. 
  • “Strengthening surveillance capacity on the green and blue border between Belarus and Ukraine” project (SURCAP, 2012 - 2013) targeted to help Belarus and Ukraine strengthen their surveillance and border control capacities along their common borderline and enhance overall coordination between border agencies, as well as customs, at border checkpoints and along the green and blue borders.
  • “Support to the creation of electronic system of pre-arrival information exchange between the customs authorities of Belarus and Ukraine” (PRINEX, 2013 - 2016). As a result of the project’s implementation, the pre-arrival information exchange system between the customs authorities of Belarus and Ukraine was installed and activated at the designated border crossing points. This electronic system allowed economic actors in one of the partner countries to submit electronic declarations to the corresponding customs authorities (when exporting the goods to the other partner country), and electronic transit declarations (while transiting through the other partner country), as well as to send electronic pre-arrival (preliminary) information letters, prepared with the help of the electronic system, to the customs authorities of the other partner country in case of exporting, or to the customs authorities of any third country in the case of transport via transit.
  • “Introduction of an automated intelligent video-control system at the road border crossing point Novaya Huta – Novi Yarylovychi at the Belarus-Ukraine frontier” (IVCO, 2017-2022). As a result, customs procedures at the designated border crossing points became more transparent and quality of customs service were improved. 
  • “Enhancement of the security of Belarus-Ukraine border by contributing to the completion of the border demarcation process, X-ray complex installation and mobile application development” project (DEMAX) supporting the efforts of Belarusian and Ukrainian government agencies to complete the state border demarcation, improve the operational capabilities of border management agencies and simplify border crossing procedures in line with international standards and best practices.
  • “Helping Belarus address the phenomenon of increasing numbers of irregular migrants” (IMBEL, 2018-2022) aiming to support Belarus with the development and enforcement of irregular migration and asylum policies and strategies bringing them in line with European and international standards.