IOM, Greece Sign Agreement on New Voluntary Return Programme

Posted on Tue, Jul-31-2012
IOM and the Government of Greece today signed a EUR 10 million 12-month agreement that will offer assisted voluntary return from Greece to their countries of origin for some 7,000 stranded irregular migrants.

The project, which will be funded 75 per cent by the European Return Fund and 25 per cent by the Greek Ministry of Public Order and Citizens' Protection, will offer 300 of the most vulnerable returnees reintegration packages in their home countries.
IOM Deputy Director General Ambassador Laura Thompson, IOM Greece Chief of Mission Daniel Esdras and Greece's Minister of Public Order and Citizens' Protection Nicalaos Dendias attended today's signing of the agreement in Athens.

According to Eurostat, there currently close to one million irregular migrants in Greece, which is part of the European Union's external border and whose geographic location makes it a prime target for irregular migration.

The largest number of irregular migrants in Greece come from Afghanistan, followed by Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco and Iraq. Most want to continue their journey on to other European countries, but run out of money and end up homeless and unemployed on the streets of Greek cities.

The IOM project, which is the third of its kind implemented by IOM Athens, in close collaboration with the Greek Ministry of Public Order and Citizens' Protection, will offer the migrants an opportunity to return home in a safe and dignified manner.

To date, IOM Athens has already assisted over 5,000 irregular migrants to return home and has registered another 8,000 who want to be repatriated to their respective countries.

For more information, please contact

Daniel Esdras
IOM Athens
Tel. +30.2.10/9919040