Afghanistan Celebrates Return of Skilled Workers

Date Published: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bringing skilled workers home to Afghanistan has been a key aspect of IOM’s activities in the war-torn country. In the past 15 years, IOM has recruited and assisted nearly 1,500 Afghan experts from 31 countries, who have found work in government institutions, NGOs, international organizations and the private sector.

At an event in the capital Kabul on Sunday IOM, government officials and programme donors joined Afghan professionals who had returned through the programme to celebrate the successes of IOM’s Return of Qualified Afghans programme and look at ways to improve and expand its activities.

"IOM has been facilitating the return of qualified nationals worldwide for over 20 years, and Afghanistan has been one of our most successful programmes,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Richard Danziger in his opening remarks. “We are very proud of the contributions made to education, health care and other vital sectors."

"Three decades of war have caused our experts and scholars to flee Afghanistan,” said Deputy Minister of Education Asadullah Mohaqiq. “We have millions more students than we had thirteen years ago, and we need urgently qualified teachers and education specialists. The Ministry of Education is very grateful for the help it has received with bringing these experts back to Afghanistan."

Mohammad Hatem Hatemi, who left Afghanistan for the Netherlands in 1997 and returned in 2011 to support education development, spoke at the event about his experience.

“Returning to help my country was something of great pride for me,” said Mr. Hatemi. “I had a comfortable life in the Netherlands, but I wanted to do something for Afghanistan.”

Priority sectors for skilled returnees, identified jointly by IOM and its government partners, are education (including vocational training), health care and infrastructure.

IOM Afghanistan began return of its qualified national activities in Afghanistan in 1999. The current programme supports short and long-term returns of Afghan professionals from Europe and Iran, with funding provided by the governments of the Netherlands and Japan.

For further information, please contact Matt Graydon at IOM Kabul (, +93 794 100 546)