More than 2,000 immigrants are due to return to their homelands in the coming months as part of a new voluntary repatriation scheme being run by the Athens office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Kathimerini understands that many of these migrants had traveled to Greece with high hopes of finding work or relocating to a more prosperous European Union country, but in the past two years ended up sleeping on the streets, eating out of garbage bins and falling victim to racist attacks. Last year, more than 1,200 migrants were sent home in the first wave of the IOM’s repatriation scheme.
The new program has a budget of 5 million euros, the bulk of which is to be covered by the EU. Most of the migrants who have applied for repatriation are Afghans, Pakistanis and Moroccans. Earlier this month, Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry said it would open an embassy in Athens to help repatriate migrants.