Qualified Afghan Returnees Recognized at Kabul Event

Date Published: 
Friday, February 24, 2017

IOM has organized an event in Kabul to recognize contributions made to the development of Afghanistan by qualified Afghans who returned from Iran through IOM’s “Return of Qualified Afghans” (RQA) programme.

Since 2001, IOM has facilitated the return of diaspora Afghans in order to strengthen the capacity of government and non-government institutions, as well as the country’s private sector.

A key component of the programme has been the assisted return of qualified Afghans from neighbouring Iran, funded by the Government of Japan since 2008.

To date, 515 qualified Afghans living in Iran have returned under the programme to contribute their expertise in areas such as education, engineering and healthcare.

The event brought together RQA beneficiaries, host institutions and representatives from the government of Afghanistan to celebrate the achievements of the 2016-2017 phase of the programme. 

“Leveraging the skills base of the global Afghan diaspora to contribute to the development of institutions is key to ensuring sustainable recovery and development in Afghanistan and of importance for the government’s repatriation concerns,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission and Special Envoy, Laurence Hart.

“Participants in the programme have held senior roles in the Ministries of Energy and Water and Urban Development, as well as agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency,” he added.

Several participants in the programme shared their stories. Mohsin Alizadeh studied civil engineering in Iran. After graduating, he began working in a design firm in Iran, as well as studying for a post-graduate degree in Structural Engineering. He then returned home under RQA and subsequently joined Afghanistan’s Ministry of Urban Development and Housing.

“While living in Iran, I had no information about the job market in Afghanistan. Thanks to RQA, I was able to come here and work, while also familiarizing myself with the local job market,” he said.

Zahra Adili returned from Iran in 2016 under the RQA program and works in Jamhoriat Public Hospital Operation Room: “I am 23 years old and was born in Iran. The IOM RQA programme connected me to my country and helped me return and find a good job. I am happy to be serving my nation,” she noted.

The returnees come from a variety of backgrounds, but share the same motivation to contribute their skills for the recovery and development of Afghanistan.

Speaking at the event, Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriation Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi described the programme as “a bridge between the host country and the country of origin.” “The main objective should be to provide job opportunities allowing Afghans to stay in the country,” he said.

Following the success of the previous phases of the programme, IOM Afghanistan will once again receive support from the Government of Japan to continue supporting qualified returnees from Iran through 2017 and beyond.

For further information, please contact David Hofmeijer in IOM Kabul, Tel. +93 72 922 9432, Email: dhofmeijer@iom.int