Lacking prospects in Germany, 135 Afghan migrants ‘voluntarily’ head home: IOM


A group of 135 Afghan migrants landed back in Kabul from Germany on Wednesday after volunteering to return home due to a lack of prospects in Europe, officials said.

The International Organization for Migration arranged the transport and reception of the group, which included 107 males and 18 females including 10 children.

It did not say how the Afghans reached Germany or how much time they had spent there.

Applications for assisted voluntary returns from Germany to Afghanistan have significantly increased over the last week, officials say.

The Afghan Embassy in Germany said there were as many as 1,000 Afghan migrants in Germany urgently wishing to return voluntarily to Afghanistan.

“The main reasons invoked by the returnees to go back … are the limitations they perceive in their long-term opportunities in Germany,” said IOM chief in Germany Argentina Szabados.

This included “the limited possibilities for family reunification,” he added in a statement.

The IOM has run the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) program in Afghanistan since 2003. The number of assisted returns from Germany rose from 92 in 2014 to 304 in 2015.

“The Afghan government welcomes any voluntary returns of its nationals … from foreign countries,” said Hussain Alemi Balkhi, Afghan minister of refugees and repatriation.

The 28-nation European Union has since last year been struggling to cope with a massive influx of migrants, the biggest wave of migration since World War II, fueled by the war in Syria and Iraq.