April 8, 2013

By The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
The Kaselehlie Press

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) held the first Migrant Resource Center Workshop in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), from March 6-8, 2013. Participants of the workshop included: FSM Foreign Affairs, FSM Department of Justice, FSM Division of Immigration and Labour, SBOC, Women organizations, US Embassy, College of Micronesia- FSM, Office of the President, Bank of Guam and United Airlines.

The aim of the workshop was to conduct stakeholder consultations to harmoniously build and harness the services provided by the MRC relevant to the Micronesia context and which can build upon existing synergies. It moreover sought to build capacity of those who will both work in coordination with the MRC and at the MRC. Following this workshop, MRC personnel, collaborators and volunteers gained a better understanding and knowledge of the MRC, its purpose and how the services would benefit the citizens of the FSM, particularly in the area of migration to the United States. Participants were trained to effectively deliver pre-departure orientation sessions and awareness raising on human trafficking, deliver services on referrals to existing support networks for Micronesians in the host communities.

The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Kristina Mejo, IOM Regional Project Development Officer, from the Regional Office for Asia Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, who has supported a variety of countries in their start ups and implementation of MRC and MRC services, both in countries of origin and destination. The workshop opened with a word of prayer by IOM Yap Head of Sub-Office, Mr. Philip Raffilply, followed by a welcoming remark by IOM Chief of Mission Ashley Carl. Guest Speaker, FSM Congressman (and former Acting Ambassador/Charged'Affaires, of the FSM to the United Nations, FSM Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York) David Panuelo, congratulated IOM for taking the lead in organizing such a workshop, a testament of the relationship between the FSM National Government and IOM. FSM became a member state of IOM in December 2011 and on February 17, 2012, FSM signed a bi-lateral Host Agreement with IOM, cementing IOM's status as an intergovernmental organization in the Northern Pacific region. IOM will open the first Migrant Resource Center in Kolonia, Pohnpei on March 26. The MRC will be the first center to be established in the Pacific region.

Presenters during the three day workshop included: US Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Miquel Ordonez who presented on the United States Perspective of the Compact Impact, as well as Opportunities and Challenges of Integration into the United States. Mrs. Suzanne Lowe Gallen from FSM SBOC spoke on the Migration Survey Outcome and Characteristics of Micronesian Migrants while FSM Secretary of the Department of Justice, Mrs. April Skilling spoke on the new FSM Human Trafficking Act. Acting Chief of Immigration David Wolphagen presented on Immigration Processes and Mrs. Sylvia Cruz from United Airlines explained the Travel Procedures at the airport. Finally, Mrs. Linda Phillip shared experiences with women organizations on community outreach. Other topics included, but not limited to were: FSM Migrant Trends; the Compact-Impact History with the United States; IOM's work in FSM and RMI, and the new MRC Initiative; Migration Management Key Terms; Irregular Migration: Risks and Realities, MRC Good practices in other countries and around the world and Roles of

MRCs, MRC Designs and Key Components, Counseling, Information Campaign and Effective Outreach in the Communities and MRC Pre-Departure direct services and needs of migrants abroad. Throughout the three day, participants actively participated and exchanged on many of these topics and their relevance to the current FSM setting.

IOM wishes to thank the FSM National Government, US Embassy, the Pohnpei State Government, United Airlines, Bank of Guam and the women organizations for making this workshop possible. Special thanks to all the Speakers, Participants, Tuna Commission for the venue and IOM staff.

The Migrant Resource Center Workshop is supported by the IOM Development Fund.