Dominic had spent more than a year in Ireland as an asylum seeker in a reception centre when he decided it was time to return home. He had come to Ireland in 2011 to “find a better life”, but found it difficult to adapt to the environment of the centre because he was not allowed to work. “I am a hard worker, that situation broke me down,” he explained.
As an experienced welder, and having heard that there were many job opportunities in Ireland, he had expected to find a means of living while his application was considered. However, applying for status as a refugee left him with no option but to stay in the centre day after day. “I followed the process because I thought it was the easiest way to get a job. But a year and a half later, nothing.”
Dominic learned about IOM during an outreach session in the accommodation centre. After thinking it over, he realised, “Return is a decision taking. I felt that one and a half years without income, sitting, doing nothing was enough.”He decided to return to South Africa, to his hometown.
Although Dominic had trained as a welder, he did not have the tools required to take on any welding work. With the IOM reintegration grant, Dominic bought a welding machine and began working as a private contractor. He was able to take different jobs in town, such as repairing locks in windows and doors that had been forced. He was also able to weld security bars for small businesses and gates for local houses.
“IOM was very helpful. They accepted my request and helped me travel back home."
When IOM staff met Dominic in 2013, the machine had broken and was on its way to Durban to be fixed again. “It might take a few days,” he guessed. “But I will get it because I paid for it. My real concern is a place to work. I need a container where to work. I can´t work in a shack.”
He was very happy to be back in South Africa but insisted that without a working place it is impossible to keep his business and to make it sustainable.