Report: Iraqi Migrants Disappointed by Europe & Return Home

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Thousands of Iraqi migrants have decided to return to their motherland, being disappointed by Europe. According to them, the quality of life in Europe was overrated.

Report: Iraqi Migrants Disappointed by Europe & Return Home

Photo: Reuters / Leonhard Foeger

According to a new report, thousands of Iraqi migrants have become disappointed by Europe and decided to go back to their motherland. As migrants said, their idealized expectations have been dwarfed by harsh realities.

Migrants, who decided to return to Iraq, said that the quality of life in Europe was overrated, the report titled ‘Migration Flows from Iraq to Europe: Reasons Behind Migration’, published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on August 16, revealed. According to the IOM, poor living conditions, an extremely long asylum application process, as well as the way of life in Europe were among the main reasons for migrants’ return.

“The study, based on interviews in Europe, and with Iraqis who returned home, said returnees reported that life in Europe had been idealized and that the reality was more difficult than expected,” the Xinhua news agency quoted the words of deputy UN spokesman, Farhan Haq.

Last year and through June of this year, some 9,600 Iraqis had been assisted by the IOM during the repatriation, Xinhua reported. Nevertheless, the actual number of the returnees could be even higher as many of them had not used the IOM’s help.

According to the report, many Iraqis viewed Europe as a ‘paradise’ before to immigrate there. But when they got there, they realized that settling in was not as easy as they had imagined.

“Receiving a residency permit is not as easy as expected. Waiting times are really long,” one of the interviewed migrants said. “Migrants are shocked because life in the country of destination is completely different from their expectations,” another one said.

Complaints of others included physically or verbally abuses by police. “We were not treated with respect,” they said. Migrants also noted that they were dissatisfied with the habitation, which they received, while they were waiting for their asylum application form to be processed. The camps represented a ‘military base’ and were overcrowded.

“We expected a home and we were put in a tent with military blankets,” migrants said.

The report was made on the basis of interviews with 86 Iraqi migrants, who returned to Iraq after migrating to Europe in 2015. The interviews were conducted in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and Baghdad between March and April 2016. All of the participants used the IOM’s help to return to their motherland.

Factors that pushed Iraqis to leave their country were also analyzed in the report. The main reasons for leaving the country were political instability, bad security situation and perceived lack of equality and law enforcement.

Selecting the migrants’ destination was primarily dependent on the presence of friends or relatives in a certain country, as well as on assumptions that they would easily receive a residency permit and reunite with family.

The report is the second part of a project, the first phase of which is represented by another report, which was based on 500 interviews with Iraqi migrants and released in February.

The IOM stated that over one million migrants reached European shores in 2015. About 85,000 Iraqis, who are the third largest group of migrants, arrived to Greece by sea only in the second half of 2015.

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