A New Approach To Refugees: Pay Them To Go Home

For refugees in Austria who select to willingly go behind to their countries of origin, a one-way outing to a Vienna International Airport outlines a finish of their tour in Europe.

Hans Punz/AP

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Hans Punz/AP

For refugees in Austria who select to willingly go behind to their countries of origin, a one-way outing to a Vienna International Airport outlines a finish of their tour in Europe.

Hans Punz/AP

Our series, “Take A Number,” is exploring problems around a universe — and a people who are perplexing to solve them — by a lens of a singular number.

158,000. That’s roughly how many refugees are stranded in dilapidation in Europe right now.

Many of them got to Europe in late 2015, when a interloper predicament reached a peak, and have been watchful given afterwards to see if they’ll be rigourously supposed into a European Union. To cut down on a wait time and mercantile impact of this large influx, some countries and nonprofits in Europe have embraced a new thought — compensate refugees to go behind to a countries they left in a initial place.

Mahmoud Abdelwahab is one of a people who has been waiting. He’s 25, and creatively from Mosul, Iraq. In early 2016, he quit his pursuit as a prepare and came to Europe, finale adult in Vienna.

“He saw people failing on a trip, like capsizing or descending from a vessel into a sea,” Philipp Epaid says. Epaid is Abdelwahab’s advisor during Caritas, a nonprofit that provides interloper services to people in Austria who are returning home.

Abdelwahab filled out his focus to stay in Austria roughly dual years ago. Since then, nothing.

All he could do — legally — was wait in a interloper camp. This is a large problem a lot of people watchful for haven have: They aren’t authorised to get a job, that means Mahmoud couldn’t send income behind to his family.

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“He wants to work. He wants to learn a language, and if we have no possibility to do this, you’re stranded and we get tired,” Epaid says.

Abdelwahab says he spent dual years all alone, feeling like a failure. And that a contingency of removing haven are built opposite him.

He’s not wrong — a Austrian courts have been impressed by applications. When a migrant predicament reached a rise behind in 2015, a series of people wanting to stay in Austria tripled.

Instead of watchful longer, Mahmoud late final year done a tough decision. He motionless to leave Austria and go behind to Iraq.

“He saw other Iraqi people receiving a disastrous preference that they have to go back,” Epaid says. “And that’s because he motionless for himself to back, before he got a negative.”

That preference — to willingly leave a nation — is accurately what a Austrian supervision wants refugees to do. Last spring, Austria announced that it would give 1,000 euros to a initial 1,000 refugees who sealed adult to leave on their own.

The module was successful, and a supervision extended a offer to some-more refugees. It’s an inducement that’s gaining traction opposite Europe.

“Either they select a intentional choice or we have to plead a forced option,” says Karl-Heinz Groendbock, a orator for a Austrian Interior Ministry. That’s a dialect that’s appropriation a intentional program. “Whenever it comes to forced return, we’re articulate about impediment people. It means we also have apprehension centers for people watchful for forced return.”

Groendbock says it’s a lot cheaper to give someone a one-way moody and 1,000 euros than regulating a country’s resources to expatriate them. And, he adds, when there are some-more applications, there will be some-more rejections. So, a supervision has wanted to inspire some-more refugees to lapse home — a preference thousands of refugees done in 2017.

But is profitable them unequivocally in a best seductiveness of refugees? Philipp Epaid, Abdelwahab’s counselor, is not sure. He says it’s unequivocally critical that a interloper creates a life-changing preference like this one on his own.

But this module is accurately because Mahmoud Abdelwahab chose to lapse home to Iraq — voluntarily.

On a comfortable Thursday in October, he took a train to a Vienna airport, prepared to house a moody to Baghdad.

He’s holding a buyout, he says, to go home and use a income to buy a automobile and turn a cab driver.

“Two years … [I] was here for nothing,” Mahmoud says as Epaid translates. “It didn’t make any clarity to come here.”

NPR has reached out to Abdelwahab, though hasn’t listened from him given he flew home to Iraq.