Immigration. Travel. Living.

How to immigrate in Europe from Iraq

Airplane and European flag

It’s almost like nothing good can come out from Iraq. Poverty, insecurity, war, famine, and high cost of living.

Since 2003, the continuous violence between the United States military and Iraq has led to the displacement of close to 5 million people. An estimate of 3 million people is presumed internally displaced (IDPs), while the remaining 2 million are either refugees, slaves or immigrants. 

Iraqi have one of the highest refugee population in the world with close to 5 million displaced people (15% of its population). They are the third-largest after Afghans and Palestinians. That means that one out of every six people is missing.

But fear not, this interesting country is on the verge of a comeback. The economy although unstable is rising, reconstruction and rehabilitation are well underway. A lot of foreigners and philanthropists are heading to Iraq to support it and experience its charms. 

In this section of this article, we’ll be walking you through on the full process of migrating to Europe as a citizen of Iraq, best places to reside in Europe as an Iraqi and how to start a new, better life in Europe either as an Iraqi student, entrepreneur or elderly in Europe.

Why do migrants from Iraq move to Europe?

people standing on brown sand during daytime

Why would anyone live Iraq? Truth be told, Iraq is not the best place to live at the moment. The number of Iraqis moving to Europe has doubled since 2013. In 2014, only 1,023 Iraqis were documented in Europe. By September 2015, 91,769 Iraqis were recorded in Europe, arriving through the Eastern Mediterranean route alone.

Thousands of Iraqi refugees & migrants are desperately pushing their way into Europe. The reasons for this phenomenon vary among individuals. For Some, Europe is a haven where all your needs are met by the government unlike in Iraq that is constantly threatened by militias and there are constant fear and hunger.

Other Iraqis leave Iraq because of the never-ending economic recession caused by the fall in oil prices. Our findings revealed that the main reasons why Iraq migrants move to Europe are because of insecurity in both general and personal areas. Along with lack of equality, social injustice, economic and political instability. 

Europe is perceived by Iraqis to be a place of peace, security, equality and social justice. Where Iraqi migrants can live peacefully at lower costs, risk, and favorable immigration policies.

Best ways to immigrate to Europe from Iraq

The European Union has given Iraq fundamental interest and support. This simply means that Iraq is in good terms with countries in the EU. From 2003 – 2009, the EU has offered over €1 billion to Iraq for both reconstruction, aid and humanitarian assistance. 

Unfortunately, this kind of gesture does not extend to individual citizens. There is no “Special” policy or regime in place for refugees, migrants or displaced persons coming from Iraq. You have to apply for visas, permits, taxes or nationality like citizens of other states.

You’ll need to obtain a travel visa before you can go to any EU country. You’ll also need a work permit to work in the EU and a student visa if you plan to study there. The cost of these documents varies between countries but it is usually between €300 and €1,000.

white printer paper beside silver laptop computer

Getting a job in the EU is much more formal. Unlawful/undocumented migrants cannot be employed, and governments will not offer any support to these people. All Iraqi migrants must possess legal documents if they want to find a job, study, reside or obtain citizenship in any EU country. 

If you plan to stay self-employed or retire in any EU country, you need a long-term visa that is valid for up to 2 years before you can begin the process. Getting married to an EU citizen also grant you full citizenship rights and permanent residency, once you acknowledge your citizenship.

According to UNHCR, the general cost of moving to Europe from Iraq is estimated at $10,000. One of the cheapest ways to migrate to the EU from Iraq is by migrating as an Iraqi asylum-seeker.

Asylum-seekers are people who want international protection from other states and without being refugees in that state.

Applying as an asylum-seeker or refugee allows you easy access to countries in the EU and benefits for multinational organizations like UNHCR, UNICEF, and IRC. These benefits include financial assistance, accommodation, and security.

Asylum seekers in Europe cannot work until their application has been approved. If you have money to purchase visas and other travel documents, find a consulate or embassy of the EU country you want to migrate to and they will guide you on the full process. Possessing an EU visa doesn’t mean that you have secured a job.

Racism, suspicion, language, and religion are barriers that hinder Iraqi migrants from accessing jobs in EU countries.

EU is only a governing or regulating body. There are different policies for marriage, jobs, pension, study, and citizenship among member states. If you plan to migrate from Iraq to Europe, make sure that you know the policies and effects of being an Iraqi migrant in that country.

Top 3 countries in EU for Iraqi

The most-reported countries for Iraqi migrants are Germany (37%), the Netherlands (11%) and the United Kingdom (11%). While these are the most popular countries in Europe for Iraqi migrants, these are the best countries for Iraqi migrants to reside in the EU:

1. Greece

This is the major entry point into the EU for Iraqis. In 2006, the Greek ministry of public order recorded 1,415 Iraqi asylum-seekers and 8,157 illegal entrants. 

Greece is one of the most popular places in Europe for Iraqi migrants that have no family or friends. Plus, the cost of living in Greece is quite manageable for migrates especially elderly ones.

2. Germany

Germany received 2,117 asylum seekers from Iraq, the 3rd highest in the EU. the German Federal Ministry of the Interior also has policies in place (e.g the Memorandum of Understanding to Northern Iraq) to protect Iraqi refugees who came into the country legally.

What this means is that Germany is one of the best places to reside in Europe if you are an Iraqi refugee. In Germany, you have no problem fitting in as a refugee.


3. The United Kingdom

If you’re an Iraqi migrant looking to start a new life as a student, then the UK is the best place to stay. The UK offers countless academic support to Iraqi migrants and citizens of other third-world countries. Although the cost of living in the UK is high, there are a lot of improved Iraqi communities found all over the UK that will support you.

The exodus from Iraq to Europe is not an easy one. There are thousands of applicants like you waiting for a chance to leave for Europe. Even if your application is approved, life in Europe is not usually easy for Iraqis, especially for irregular migrants.  

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