The International Organization for Migration has begun repatriating thousands of South Sudanese stranded at a way station near the border with Sudan.
The first plane carrying 164 refugees landed Monday in South Sudan's capital Juba.
The refugees are among a group of 12,000-15,000 South Sudanese who are waiting to leave the crowded transit camp at Kosti, south of Khartoum.
The south's humanitarian affairs minister, Joseph Lual Acuil, greeted the returnees at the airport. He said now that they are home, his government will have to provide for them since they lost most of their property.
"Now what we have to do is resettle them, receive them and make them feel at home," said Acuil.
The governments of Sudan and South Sudan have signed a memorandum of understanding, under which some one-half million South Sudanese still in the north must choose between going home or remaining as refugees.
Most ethnic southerners lost their jobs in the north before South Sudan gained its independence in July.
The two countries remain at sharp odds over citizenship, oil and border issues, and have come close to full-scale war following clashes along the border.
Article by VOA News