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Illegal immigrants volunteer to return home

Published on 26/03/2004

26 March 2004

MADRID – More than 1,000 illegal immigrants have volunteered to return home under a new scheme, according to figures released Friday.

The International Migration Organisation said there were 1,074 eligible candidates for the Voluntary Immigrant Repatriation Programme from Spain during its initial phase, between September to December 2003.

According to the IMO, 199 immigrants have so far returned to their country of origin and have received resettlement aid from their local IMO offices.

The highest number of applications came from Ecuador (795), Bolivia (160) and Colombia (153), while the lowest number were from Peru (20), Venezuela (21) and Brazil (22).

Officials said 1,507 applications were evaluated, and 28 approved cases did not take part in the programme, either because they were unreachable or had requested a postponement.

The IMO offices in Madrid received more than 8,000 calls from immigrants, town councils, associations and public and private institutions.

Most candidates are Latin American, have resided illegally in Spain on average for 6 months, are registered in a Spanish census bureau, are in possession of a health card and are aware of available social services.

All successful candidates have signed a release form declaring they will not return to Spain to reside illegally, have been taken off census bureau registers and have returned their health cards.

In 2004, the IMO programme should have enough funding to repatriate 3,000 candidates and cover the costs of the candidates which have not yet been repatriated due to money shortages.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news