Iraqi refugees who left Finland voluntarily due to chilly weather conditions have been pictured kissing the ground in joyous scenes upon their return to Baghdad.
Thousands of the migrants who left Finland arrived back in the Iraqi capital today and were pictured greeting loved ones and celebrating their return home.
They had originally fled to Finland only to become disappointed with life in the frosty Scandinavian country.
Photographs taken of their arrival in Baghdad showed some crying with relief at being reunited with loved ones, while others kissed the floor of the airport after touching down.
Europe is in the grip of its worst migrant crisis since the Second World War, with more than a million people arriving last year having fled wars and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
Although Germany and Sweden have taken in many of the migrants, Finland too saw its number of asylum seekers increase nearly tenfold in 2015 to 32,500 from 3,600 in 2014.
Almost two thirds of these were young Iraqi men, but some changed their mind and returned after Finland chartered flights to Baghdad.
Officials said about 4,100 asylum seekers had so far cancelled their applications and that number was likely to reach 5,000 in the coming months.
A majority of the home-bound migrants have told immigration services they want to return to their families, but some expressed disappointment with life in Finland.
Tobias van Treeck, programme officer at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said: ‘Some say the conditions in Finland and the lengthy asylum process did not meet their expectations, or what they had been told by the people they paid for their travel.’
Nearly 80 percent of the migrants returning home are Iraqis.
Only 22 of 877 Syrians – whose country is engulfed in civil war – and 35 of the 5,214 Afghans who sought asylum in Finland last year have asked to return to their home country.
Alsaedi Hussein, buying a flight back to Baghdad at a small travel agency in Helsinki, said last week: ‘My baby boy is sick, I need to get back home.
Somalia-born Muhiadin Hassan, who runs a travel agency, said he was selling 15 to 20 flights to Baghdad every day.
‘It’s been busy here for the past few months,’ he said.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3452770/Iraqi-refugees-left-Finland-didn-t-like-weather-kiss-ground-return-home-country.html#ixzz40iNdc26K
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