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BOSLA Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

1. Living Assistance

Living Assistance services aim to help migrants integrate in their respective societies and achieve self-sufficiency. The services include employment and educational assistance, financial, medical, and material assistance, housing and shelter support, family tracing, as well as psychosocial and psychological help.

2. Specialized Services

Specialized Services comprises organizations that cater for people who have specific circumstances such as children in general or specifically for unaccompanied children and people with special needs, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and victims of human trafficking, as well as organizations that provide services for specific nationalities.

​​​​​​​3. Legal and Durable Solutions

Legal and Durable Solutions comprises organizations that provide assistance to people otherwise unable to afford or attain legal representation or advice. The organizations offer assistance to refugees and other categories of migrants in order to find for durable solutions (local integration; resettlement/relocation; repatriation/return). Information on legal registration of business start-ups, and legal procedures for acquisition of work permits when possible, is also available.

Who is a migrant?

Any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of (1) the person’s legal status; (2) whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary; (3) what the causes for the movement are; or (4) what the length of the stay is.

Migrant worker is a person who is to be engaged, is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a State of which he or she is not a national (article 2(1), International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, ICRMW, 1990).

Article 2 of the ICRMW also provides for different categories of migrant workers.

Migrant workers and members of their families:

    • Are considered as documented or in a regular situation if they are authorized to enter, to stay and to engage in a remunerated activity in the State of employment pursuant to the law of that State and to international agreements to which that State is a party;
    • Are considered as non-documented or in an irregular situation if they do not comply with the conditions provided for in subparagraph (a).

(Art. 5, ICRMW, 1990)

Child: means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. (Article 1, Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC, 1989)

  • Unaccompanied children (also called unaccompanied minors) are children, as defined in article 1 of the Convention, who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so.
  • Separated children are children, as defined in article 1 of the Convention, who have been separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary care-giver, but not necessarily from other relatives.  These may, therefore, include children accompanied by other adult family members.

(Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 6: treatment of unaccompanied and separated children outside their country of origin, 2005)

 

Family reunion / family reunification: Process whereby family members separated through forced or voluntary migration regroup in a country other than the one of their origin.

Irregular migrant more broadly is a person who, owing to unauthorized entry, breach of a condition of entry, or the expiry of his or her visa, lacks legal status in a transit or host country. The definition covers inter alia those persons who have entered a transit or host country lawfully but have stayed for a longer period than authorized or subsequently taken up unauthorized employment (also called unauthorized/undocumented migrant or migrant in an irregular situation).

Use of the term “illegal,” either as an adjective or a noun, is problematic because it is inaccurate, carries a criminal connotation and denies migrants’ humanity. A person cannot be illegal. This is in accordance with international consensus and human rights law. “In light of the fact that irregular migration is not a crime and irregular migrants are not criminals per se, the use of the expression ‘illegal migrant’ should be avoided at all costs.” The UN General Assembly Resolution No. 3449 of 9 December 1975, “Measures to Ensure the Human Rights and Dignity of Migrant Workers,” recommended that stakeholders avoid using the term “illegal” to describe migrants in an irregular situation. As François Crépeau, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, wrote “using incorrect terminology that negatively depicts individuals as ‘illegal’ contributes to the negative discourses on migration, and further reinforces negative stereotypes against migrants. Moreover, such language legitimates a discourse of the criminalization of migration, which in turn, contributes to the further alienation, marginalization, discrimination and ill treatment of migrants on a daily basis.”

 

 

Who is a refugee?

A refugee is a person who meets the eligibility criteria under the applicable refugee definition, as provided for in international or regional refugee instruments, under UNHCR’s mandate, and/or in national legislation (Master Glossary of Terms, UNHCR, June 2006).

According to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is a person who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of (1) race, (2) religion, (3) nationality, (4) membership of a particular social group or (5) political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

The 1969 AU Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa broadens the definition: Article 1 includes the 1951 Convention definition, while Article 2 states the following: “The term ‘refugee’ shall also apply to every person who, owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either part or the whole of his country of origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his country of origin or nationality.”

Who are internally displaced persons (IDPs)?

Internal Displace Persons (IDPs) are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border (African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, 23 October 2009; Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, UN Doc E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2.).

 

Some organizations listed on the website provide services specifically for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and victims of human trafficking.

What is sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)?

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) refers to any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will, that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to a person and is based on “their sex, gender identity, real or perceived sexual orientation or non-adherence to social norms around gender and sexuality”[1] as well as “on gender norms and unequal power relationships. It encompasses threats of violence and coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or in private life and can take the form of a denial of resources or access to services. It inflicts harm on women, girls, men and boys and is a severe violation of several human rights”.[2]

SGBV may be “perpetrated by anyone, including individuals from host communities, from refugee or IDP communities, and humanitarian actors. Persons in positions of authority (police, security officials, community leaders, teachers, employers, landlords, humanitarian workers) may abuse their power and commit SGBV against persons of concern. Changed social and gender roles or responsibilities, as well as the stresses of displacement, can cause or exacerbate tensions within the home, sometimes resulting in domestic violence. Some harmful customary or traditional behaviours may amount to SGBV: early marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), honour killing and maiming, forced abortion. During situations of armed conflict, sexual violence may be used as a weapon of war.”[3]

What is human trafficking?

“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation” (Art. 3(a), UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 2000). Exploitation “shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”[4] The crime of trafficking in persons can take place within the borders of one State or may have a transnational character.

 

[1] Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Human Rights Council, A/HRC/31/57, http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/31/57

[2] UNHCR Emergency Handbook, https://emergency.unhcr.org/entry/60283/sexual-and-gender-based-violence-sgbv-prevention-and-response

[3] UNHCR Emergency Handbook, https://emergency.unhcr.org/entry/60283/sexual-and-gender-based-violence-sgbv-prevention-and-response

[4] See also UNODC, https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html

International Migration is the movement of a person or a group of persons across an international border. It is a population movement, encompassing any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition and causes; it includes migration of refugees, other external displaced persons, migrant workers, and persons moving for other purposes, including study and family reunification (see Glossary on Migration, IOM, 2011). The IOM Constitution, in particular, notes that “international migration also includes that of refugees, displaced persons and other individuals compelled to leave their homelands” and calls for “facilitating the emigration of persons who desire to migrate to countries where they may achieve self-dependence through their employment and live with their families in dignity and self-respect” (IOM (1989:9) Constitution of the International Organization for Migration).

Mixed Migration is also referred to as irregular migration. They are synonyms. Irregular migration can be defined as migration that occurs outside the regulatory norms of the origin, transit, or destination country. Although clandestine migration attracts the most attention, it is widely acknowledged that bigger is the number of migrants who arrive legally (for example, on the basis of tourist or student visas) and then overstay the period for which their visas/permits are valid. The term Mixed Migration puts the individual at the center of the discourse and calls for individual screening to identify protection and assistance needs. The term Mixed Migration is also a reminder of the complexity of the phenomenon. For instance, people might cross one border regularly and another irregularly. It, nevertheless, overlooks overstaying and focuses the attention on clandestine movements. Regardless of the term used, it is important delinking migration from insecurity. As observed by the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, ‘’… the smuggling of migrants may constitute a criminal offence, irregular migration does not, and should thus not be linked to security issues and crime’’. Irregular migration should be decriminalized (François Crépeau (2013) Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, UN Doc. A/HRC/23/46).

 

Forced Migration is a general term that refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people due to conflicts as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, famine, or development projects internally or externally (see Glossary on Migration, IOM, 2011). Those displaced externally by natural or environmental disasters, famine, or development projects are not refugees.

 

Return migration:  In the context of international migration, the movement of persons returning to their country of origin after having moved away from their place of habitual residence and crossed an international border. In the context of internal migration, the movement of persons returning to their place of habitual residence after having moved away from it.  Note: UNDESA defines returning migrants as “persons returning to their country of citizenship after having been international migrants (whether short term or long-term) in another country and who are intending to stay in the country for at least one year (Recommendation on Statistics of International Migration, Revision 1, 1998, p. 94).

Circular migration:  The fluid movement of people between countries, including temporary or long-term movement which may be beneficial to all involved, if occurring voluntarily and linked to the labour needs of countries of origin and destination.

Integration: While the term is used and understood differently in different countries and contexts, “integration” can be defined as the process by which migrants become accepted into society, both as individuals and as groups. It generally refers to a two-way process of adaptation by migrants and host societies, while the particular requirements for acceptance by a host society vary from country to country. Integration does not necessarily imply permanent settlement. It does, however, imply consideration of the rights and obligations of migrants and host societies, of access to different kinds of services and the labour market, and of identification and respect for a core set of values that bind migrants and host communities in a common purpose. Local integration is one of the three durable solutions to address the plight of refugees. It may also be applied to victims of trafficking and unaccompanied children.

Residence: The act or fact of living in a given place for some time; the place where one actually lives as distinguished from a domicile. Residence usually just means bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place, while domicile usually requires bodily presence and an intention to make the place one’s home. A person thus may have more than one residence at a time but only one domicile.

Nationality: Legal bond between an individual and a State. The International Court of Justice defined nationality in the Nottebohm case, 1955, as “…a legal bond having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests and sentiments, together with the existence of reciprocal rights and duties…the individual upon whom it is conferred, either directly by law or as a result of the act of the authorities, is in fact more closely connected with the population of the State conferring the nationality than with any other State.” According to Art. 1, Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws, 1930 “it is for each State to determine under its own laws who are its nationals. This law shall be recognized by other States in so far as it is consistent with international conventions, international custom, and the principles of law generally recognized with regard to nationality.” The tie of nationality confers individual rights and imposes obligations that a State reserves for its population. Founded on the principle of personal jurisdiction of a State, nationality carries with it certain consequences as regards migration such as the right of a State to protect its nationals against violations of their individual rights committed by foreign authorities (particularly by means of diplomatic protection), the duty to accept its nationals onto its territory, and the prohibition to expel them.

Several organizations are dedicated to provide education for migrant children and teenagers. You can check which are they and their information here. Regarding the access to Egyptian public schools, only foreign children of specific nationalities (Sudanese, Libyan, Jordanian, as well as, under certain specific circumstances, children of other nationalities) are able to attend government schools. For private Egyptian schools the access is available for all nationalities.

You can get financial assistance from IOM. Case-workers will decide on the amount you are entitled to depending on your needs, situation and IOM criteria for assistance. Other organizations also offer financial assistance, you can check them here. Also, for other type of assistance, but in the form of materials, such as clothes and medicine you can check the organizations in this link.

IOM will offer help in the pre-departure stage with counselling and pre-departure medical screening, administrative procedures before departure; the transportation stage with airport assistance in Egypt and upon arrival in your country; and in the post-arrival stage, with an elaboration of a reintegration plan if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Several organizations provide medical assistance for migrants. The medical services vary from organization to organization, some of them offer only medical testing and patient screening, some offer assistance for emergencies and some organizations offer financial aid for medical treatment (available for certain nationalities). Also, depending on the type of medical aid needed, age and status, the patient will be directed to a different hospital or clinic for tests or a doctor’s consultation. Please check the organizations that offer those services here. Regarding Egyptian Public Health services, access this link.

At IOM for example, the medical services are as follow: there is a medical screening to evaluate the patient needs. Then, a referral is made to a hospital according to the medical specialty and home location of the patient. If needed, a guide and translator is also provided. Last but not least, the expenses of the medical treatment can be covered according to the availability of funds.

IOM can offer services for people who have not registered at UNHCR. Other categories to be assisted by IOM include:

    • A migrant who has been in Egypt for more than six months and is:
      • A passport holder with no intention of registering with UNHCR;
      • A passport holder that might register with UNHCR
    • An exploited migrant
    • A UNHCR rejected or closed file
    • A UNHCR appointment slip holder who has more than one month until registration

Please discuss with a member of our staff if you have been residing in Egypt for less than one month and need advice of what services are available in Egypt.

IOM stands for International Organization for Migration. IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.

IOM Egypt provides financial, medical and educational assistance for migrants in Egypt who are residing in the country for more than 6 months and have not registered with UNHCR, Closed files holders, and UNHCR appointment slip holders. Also, IOM can help you to return to your country of origin.