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Overwhelmed by crisis, illegal migrants in Greece return home

Illegal migrants who pay large sums of money to human smugglers to take them to Europe are faced with harsh circumstances in Greece, which has been suffering from economic and social problems for several years. They can neither find a place to stay nor a regular job. So, they decide to return home, but many of them cannot even buy tickets and instead wait for support from IOM. The economic crisis in Greece, which has been going on for three years, and a campaign launched by Golden Dawn, Greece's extreme right-wing party, against migrants have made life even more difficult for the illegal migrants. Since 2009, 18,183 illegal migrants applied to IOM saying that they wanted to return home. A total of 12,000 of these migrants have returned to their countries. While the number of migrants who returned to their countries in 2009 after they applied to IOM was 1,097, this figure rose to 3,276 in 2010. The number of illegal migrants who applied to IOM in order to return home in the first three months of 2013 was 1,057.

IOM, which is active in 180 countries, is 75 percent financed by the EU.

Head of IOM Athens office Daniel Esdras said IOM is helping migrants, most of whom do not even have an identity card or any other documents, to return to their countries. He said, in addition to buying tickets for the migrants, IOM provides an allowance of 300 euros to the migrants for them to make a new start back home.


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