Over 2,000 foreigners in Greece voluntarily repatriate in past 15 months: IOM

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Over 2,000 foreign nationals have returned to their countries from Greece with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which assisted with the voluntary return and reintegration programs, Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Thursday.

The 2,086 that returned between June 2016 and September 2017 received 1,500 euros (1,771 U.S. dollars) each so that they could either set up a small business or for medical assistance, education, temporary shelter, seminars, or household equipment, according to an IOM announcement.

Most of the beneficiaries were from Pakistan (1,184), Georgia (342), and Iraq (174).

More than one million refugees and migrants have reached Greece since early 2015, mainly from Turkey, and continued their way to other European countries until the closure of borders along the Balkan route in winter 2016.

More than 60,000 people have been stranded in Greece since spring 2016.

Hundreds of refugees who have been granted asylum have been transferred to other European countries under the EU-IOM relocation program, while many economic migrants are offered the voluntary return option. (1 euro = 1.18 U.S. dollars)

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