IOM Iraq Communications Officer speaking with Associated Press on Iraqi migrants voluntarily returning from Europe

But as winter set in last year, the number of people applying for repatriation with the IOM began to grow, from 100 people a month since the start of the year to 350 in September, 761 in October and 831 in January 2016.

"It is very hard to know what the total numbers are because many of them are returning independently and they blend in with other travelers," said Sandra Black, the Iraq communications officer for the IOM. "But the numbers are significantly increasing."

"They come back for lack of hope for getting residency in Europe, lack of job opportunities, slow family reunification, and for not finding the housing and living opportunities that they were hoping for," Black said, “The increasing number of arrivals has created massive pressures on the immigration system in Europe. Applications take longer, and so some of them give up."

Of the 4,305 Iraqis who received IOM assistance to return in all of 2015 and January 2016, a third returned to the Kurdish region. The full article on ABC News can be found here.

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