18 September 2017

Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, the newly arrived Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine, met the Head of the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMS), Mr. Maksym Sokoliuk, in Kyiv today. At his first official meeting with a Ukrainian Government counterpart, Dr. Weiss congratulated Ukraine on the long-awaited introduction of the visa free regime with the European Union. “It is a crucial step for Ukraine and a great opportunity for a whole generation of Ukrainians to get to know the EU countries firsthand,” noted Dr. Weiss.

The IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission also stressed the importance of the comprehensive State Migration Policy Strategy adopted by the Government of Ukraine this summer. “Ukraine’s State Migration Policy Strategy is a very well-researched and well-structured document. This is to the credit of Ukraine, taking migration and migration management so extremely seriously,” said Dr. Weiss. He added that IOM appreciates that it worked together with the SMS on the document creation and now IOM experts have been invited to assist with the development of the Action Plan to implement the Migration Strategy.

In his turn, the Head of the SMS, Mr. Sokoliuk, thanked IOM for the long-standing cooperation, and focused on one IOM project currently being implemented, “Support for Migration and Asylum Management in Ukraine” (IMMIS), which is funded by the European Union and aims to foster migration management in the country in accordance with international best practices. It was designed to support the SMS, as well as the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) of Ukraine, in increasing the efficiency and the effectiveness of service provision to the citizens of Ukraine and foreigners, and is the biggest EU project ever on migration management in one of the Eastern Partnership countries. “We hope that IMMIS will become the best example of cooperation between an international organization and a government,” said Mr. Sokoliuk.

“Working on migration for the benefit of migrants and societies is something that has to be done in partnership. Therefore we rely very much on collaboration we receive from our colleagues from the State Migration Service. IOM Ukraine is looking forward to deepen our partnership and fruitful relationship with the SMS,” Dr. Weiss summed up the meeting.

IOM provides assistance to the Ukrainian Government in developing a comprehensive migration and border management system, by enhancing its institutional, organizational, operational and human resource capacities. In close collaboration with Ukrainian authorities entrusted with migration and border management, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Migration Service (SMS), the State Border Guard Service (SBGS), the Office of the Ombudsperson, the Ministry of Interior, as well as civil society organizations, IOM Ukraine’s Capacity Building in Migration Management unit works to institutionalize international best practices.