The file of Iraqi immigrants in Europe constitutes a large proportion of the concerns of successive governments after the defeat of the “ISIS” organization in Iraq, which caused an increase in the number of immigrants towards the cold continent, forming a population proportion no less heavy than the indigenous population of those countries.
The file of Iraqi immigrants is common between Iraq and the European Union countries during the talks conducted by the two parties, the last of which was the Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’a al-Sudani’s discussion in the German capital, Berlin, on January 13, the current situation of Iraqi immigrants in Germany, and the formation of a joint committee that paves the way for their return. voluntary return to their country.
German government figures indicate that the number of Iraqis residing or seeking asylum in Germany is about a quarter of a million Iraqis, occupying the fifth place for refugees residing in Germany after those coming from Syria, Kosovo, Albania and Serbia.
The Association of “Immigrants Returning from Europe” in the Kurdistan Region had revealed, earlier, that nearly 20,000 citizens from the region migrated to the European Union countries during the year 2022.
The political, security and economic conditions and turmoil that Iraq has witnessed in recent decades have caused an increase in the rate of emigration of its citizens abroad.
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The head of the association, Bakr Ali, said in a press conference that “19,200 citizens from the Kurdistan region migrated to Europe through the Turkish coasts and the Belarusian borders.”
He pointed to “recording several phenomena for obtaining an entry visa, including for a fee, or as is remarkably common for obtaining a Bosnian entry visa,” noting that “the citizens went to the European Union countries through these two routes.”
He continued, “2,300 residents of the independent administration of Rabrin are citizens of immigrants from the Kurdistan region to Europe,” describing the region as having “the lion’s share of migration and incurring human losses among immigrants.”
He noted that “29 citizens, mostly young people, died during an attempt to migrate to Europe in 2022, including seven people from the Rabrin district administration,” adding, “We were able to return the bodies of some of those who died during the trip, and part of them is still missing.” We are making efforts with the regional government to return their bodies.”
Political researcher Ali al-Baydar described the step of understandings between Baghdad and Berlin on the return of refugees as “positive,” noting that it “could contribute to the return of migrants, but it should not affect the file of those who refuse to return.”--
He added, “Today, conditions in Iraq allow the return of immigrants, but they are not ideal,” noting that “immigrants refuse to return for nothing, but rather because they are accustomed to living in those countries and societies, because of their system and laws.”
“If the current government succeeds in normalizing the situation in the country and eliminating chaos, all immigrants will return to the country voluntarily,” he said, noting that “Western countries need immigrants as a workforce and will not abandon them.”
Al-Baydar expressed his hope that this file would not be used in the future to force migrants to return, calling on the government to provide privileges and inducements that force migrants to return, such as loans, employment and facilitating procedures for obtaining official papers.
Migration has economic and social motives, according to what international economics professor Nawar al-Saadi confirms, adding that “the migration of Iraqis to Europe went through several waves, the first during the eighties and most of them were political opponents who have now assumed positions in the current Iraqi government, while the second wave was during the period of economic blockade.” During the nineties of the last century, and the big wave was between 2006 and 2008 after the American occupation and the outbreak of the wave of sectarian violence, and in these years Germany and the rest of European countries opened their doors to the Iraqis.
Al-Saadi points out that “what drives Iraqis to settle in Germany, as well as some Scandinavian countries, is that it is a luxury country that respects people and provides all public services, in addition to economic support for refugees.”
He continues, “In the beginnings of immigration during the previous years, these countries provided refugees upon their arrival with housing, food, and living, after which those who obtained residency began the journey of integration into society by learning the language, equivalency of the certificate, and then searching for work, and the Employment Department helped him in that, which works to develop the capabilities of the refugees.” To obtain a specific craft to work in and live in dignity, but the situation has now changed dramatically,” he attributed this to the relative security stability in Iraq, even that the UNHCR did not issue in its last annual report any indication of a danger to citizens in Iraq after it was mentioned in its reports that civilians have become a daily target of violence.
According to the professor of international economics, “the deterioration of economic and living conditions in Germany and the rest of European countries due to the recent war between Russia and Ukraine, which cast a shadow over the economy in most European countries that suffer from inflation and energy crises, led to the closure of many factories and companies that laid off huge numbers of workers.” workers, most of whom are refugees.
Al-Saadi believes that “the German government today encourages the return of Iraqi refugees to their country by providing financial assistance amounting to three thousand euros (about 3.26 thousand dollars) per family, in addition to opening assistance centers that provide advice and support for the returnees by the German authorities, and it is expected that the Sudanese visit will result To cooperation between Baghdad and Berlin, to provide job and employment opportunities for them in Iraq, and this is the talk circulating in the media, but on the other hand, the idea of return among many Iraqis constitutes a disturbing obsession, because Iraq’s situation is fragile, and its economy depends only on oil, and there are large proportions of Unemployment in the country, in addition to the decline of the dinar against the dollar, which led to high rates of poverty and inflation.
Al-Saadi believes that “the decision to return voluntarily will depend on the person’s circumstances in Germany, meaning that those who have achieved success there through study or work and integration into German society will not return to Iraq, while those who suffer difficulties, such as not obtaining residency, ignorance of the language, and not finding an opportunity Work and homesickness due to the presence of their families in Iraq, the decision to return will be better for them.”