On Tuesday, 21 December 2021, the Chief of the State Border Guard General Guntis Pujāts presented a Certificate of Honour of the State Border Guard to the Head of the Riga Office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mr. Ilmārs Mežs for his professional support to the State Border Guard in improvement of the return mechanism during the emergency situation at the external border of the Republic of Latvia.
The State Border Guard has established close cooperation with the Riga Office of the IOM. Thanks to Mr. Ilmārs Mežs, functions of the State Border Guard in the field of migration have improved, especially due to improvement of the return mechanism for foreigners.
Mr. Ilmārs Mežs has actively been involved in a number of activities related to the establishment of an effective voluntary return management and sustainable reintegration system in Latvia. He has been involved in the development of a mechanism for foreign nationals detained under the Immigration Law return to their country of origin voluntarily and to receive reintegration assistance.
Due to the large influx of illegal migrants on the state border of the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Belarus, during the emergency situation, Mr. Ilmārs Mežs visited accommodation places of foreigners and asylum seekers, inviting them to apply for a voluntary return program, by providing hand-outs and all necessary information, as well on 14 December 2021 he personally organized departure of 51 citizens of the Republic of Iraq and 5 citizens of the Republic of Turkey to their country of residence.