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New Voluntary Return Programme Will Help 7,000 Migrants Leave Greece

Posted on Tue, Jul-02-2013

Greece - A new voluntary assisted return and reintegration (AVRR) programme for stranded migrants initiated by Greece and implemented by IOM with funding from the European Union and the Greek government was launched in Athens yesterday (1/7/2013.)

The new programme will help some 7,000 undocumented migrants to voluntarily return to their countries of origin from Greece, and reintegration assistance will be provided for 500 of these. It follows a similar programme launched in 2012 which ended in June 2013 and helped over 8,000 migrants return home.

The earlier project, which also provided reintegration assistance to 167 vulnerable returnees and was funded by the European Return Fund and co-funded by the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection (MoPOCP), was originally designed to help just 7,000 returnees.

Greece’s Minister of Public Order and Citizens’ Protection, Nikolaos Dendias, speaking at the launch of the new project, acknowledged IOM’s contribution in supporting Greek  migration management.

“IOM will remain our strategic partner in the years to come so we can deal with a problem that cannot be solved overnight,” he said.

Greece is a major transit country for thousands of irregular migrants trying to reach Western Europe. But many decide to return home when they become stranded, jobless and are forced to sleep on the streets of Greek cities.

For more information, please contact

Daniel Esdras
IOM Athens
Tel: +30 210 7255 614 /+30 210 99 19 040
Email: desdras@iom.int