Charter flight to Iraq
On Monday 1 February, a plane left for Baghdad. Aboard were 106 Iraqis who had signed up for the voluntary return programme. Fedasil and IOM (the International Organization for Migration) organised this charter flight to bring to their country of origin the many Iraqis who wanted to return voluntarily.A team of IOM employees ensured a smooth check-in and some of them accompanied the returning migrants to Baghdad. The State Secretary for Asylum Policy and Migration and the press were present at the airport for the departure.Belgium is the first European country to organise a charter flight for a voluntary return. Usually, the returns happen through regular airlines.Since September 2015, there has been in Belgium a rising demand for voluntary returns to Iraq. It mostly concerns single men, sometimes families, who have applied for asylum in Belgium and are staying in reception centres. When the Iraqis arrive in their home country, they can apply for support for their reintegration at an IOM or Caritas International office.In 2015, more than 4,000 migrants chose voluntarily to leave Belgium for their country of origin. One out of every 4 voluntary returns was to Iraq (1,000 Iraqis).