NEWS

Migrant repatriation scheme gains ground

A European Union-funded scheme for the voluntary repatriation of undocumented immigrants in Greece is gaining ground with 213 applicants returning to their countries last month alone, according to the Citizens’ Protection Ministry. The majority of the migrants, 97, were returned to Afghanistan, with 60 being sent back to Iraq and the remainder to Sudan, Iran, Nigeria, Morocco and Bangladesh, according to the ministry. Another 13 Pakistani nationals flew back to their homeland on April 1, the ministry said. In the same period a total of 88 undocumented migrants – chiefly from Iraq, Iran and Georgia – were deported. The voluntary repatriation program, heralded in the fall of last year, is being financed with some 600,000 euros in EU funding. The cost of repatriating each migrant is estimated at around 1,000 euros.