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Added: Krishna Donmoyer - Date: 01.01.2022 12:34 - Views: 18739 - Clicks: 3121

There are a of causes for this growing diversity of migration flows. While conflict-induced migration continues as the Taliban intensifies its ground offensives, many Afghans are moving within the country or abroad in search of greater economic opportunity and better living conditions. Others routinely cross the porous borders with Iran and Pakistan, seeking seasonal work there and farther abroad.

At the same time millions of Afghans who had sought refuge in Pakistan and Iran have returned to Afghanistan over the last decade as the security situation improved somewhat. The Afghan diaspora is estimated between 4 million and 6 million people. The vast majority resides in Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan is host to more than 2. In alone, approximatelyAfghans arrived in Europe, with the majority filing asylum claims in Hungary, Sweden, and Germany. There were alreadyAfghans living in Germany and other continental European states in prior to the recent influx. Internally displaced persons IDPs : Persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.

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Refugee Returnees : Afghan registered refugees who have returned to Afghanistan from Iran or Pakistan. Such returns are largely facilitated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR through its Voluntary Repatriation VolRep program, but registered refugees who return spontaneously by their own means are also considered refugee returnees.

Undocumented Returnees : Afghan returnees who were never registered as refugees and were living irregularly in Iran and Pakistan. This category of returnee includes both spontaneous returnees and deportees. Spontaneous Returnees : Afghan returnees whose return is not part of an organized deportation or facilitated refugee repatriation program.

This includes both registered refugees and undocumented migrants who return voluntarily, as well as those who may feel coerced into return by community threats or pressures. There are a further estimated 10, Afghan refugees in India, mostly settled in Delhi, including many Hindus and Sikhs. Furthermore, more than 1.

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The high volume of returns, both voluntary and forced, has placed a heavy burden on government services, leading to chronic vulnerabilities among the population. This is particularly the case alongside rapid urbanization and extensive internal displacement, which are also placing ificant demands on government services. While the Afghan government has worked with the international community to create migration and development policies over the last decade, little has been done to provide either regular emigration pathways for Afghans, such as labor migration corridors, or to support the sustainable return and reintegration of returnees and internally displaced persons IDPs.

This article reviews key current migration trends in Afghanistan with a focus on returnees, the challenges of defining migrantand the faltering reintegration framework. It then examines the convergence of forced migration and urbanization before turning to recent policy proposals. Afghan mobility is fluid and complex, with intersecting channels of emigration, regular and irregular immigration, circular movements, refugee movements, and internal displacement.

There is no single trigger for internal displacement or migration—research has shown that for decades Afghans have moved for a variety of reasons including security, livelihoods, and natural hazards or events. Throughout these periods, the vast majority of Afghan migrants, both regular and irregular, moved to the neighboring states of Pakistan and Iran. Such movements were to be expected as the borders between these three countries have historically been porous, with people moving between the countries seasonally and longer term for both livelihood and security reasons.

While the arrival ofAfghans in Europe is ificant and worthy of note, it pales in comparison to the estimated 5 million Afghans living in Pakistan and Iran. The fall of the communist regime in the early s also prompted Afghans to move to the West. Generally characterized as middle class, highly skilled, politically persecuted, or seeking family reunification visas or special immigrant visas, such individuals easily acquired refugee status and later citizenship in Europe.

Since the early s, the profile of Afghans in the West, particularly those arriving in Europe, has turned to the less-educated or low-skilled, refugees and asylum seekers, and visa overstayers.

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The borders between Afghanistan and Iran and Pakistan form the first step for almost all migration from Afghanistan, regardless of the country of final destination. In mid, 40, people on average transited official border points with Pakistan each day in either direction for a host of reasons, including job search, medical care, or family visits, as well as to seek protection.

Afghans have long relied on such regional migration for their survival. Labor migration has been a key feature of this regional crossborder movement and an important livelihood strategy for many poor Afghans. More than three-quarters of seasonal labor migrants reported going to Iran 77 percentwhile 12 percent cited Pakistan and 8 percent reported going to the Arabian peninsula, according to data from the National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment NRVA survey.

The Arabian peninsula was particularly ificant for urban residents seeking seasonal work abroad, with 19 percent of urban respondents reporting it as their destination. Over the first ten months of returns from Pakistan and Iran spiked, with more thanreturnees, some voluntary, others deported or otherwise forced to leave, according to a recent United States Institute of Peace report. At the same time, the past couple of years have also seen ificant emigration to Europe amid the greater migration and asylum-seeker flows resulting from the Syrian war and other political and economic turbulence.

Figure 1. Displacement is extremely widespread in Afghanistan. Although census data are lacking, in76 percent of Afghan survey respondents reported having been impacted by internal displacement and forced to leave their homes.

As the Taliban has ratcheted up its offensives—capturing the city of Kunduz in September —and the security situation worsened in parts of the country, more thanpeople were estimated to be newly displaced due to conflict in Overall, more than 1.

Natural disaster-induced displacement is also high on the agenda, particularly following devastating earthquakes in October and December that affected approximatelypeople across the country. The United Nations estimatespeople are displaced every year by natural disasters such as flooding, landslides, drought, and earthquakes in Afghanistan. After the fall of the Taliban inthe new Afghan government worked with the international community to develop a policy framework to mainstream migration into government planning.

Policy actors in Afghanistan have focused on refugees, registered refugee returnees, and IDPs. More recently—and only cautiously—economic migrants and undocumented Afghan returnees have gained attention. Each is treated as an autonomous and unrelated group between which there cannot be crossover. Migration, however, is inherently mixed in nature, with multifaceted drivers behind decisions of whether and where to migrate or return.

Modern-day Afghan migrants do not fit discreetly into the traditional policy. This raises a of questions crucial for policy implementation and service delivery: When is displacement considered to end? When do refugee returnees become regular Afghan citizens? Are the internally displaced different in needs from the urban poor? In1. UNHCR estimates that since more than 5. Voluntary repatriations, however, have dwindled in recent years due to an increase in insecurity and economic instability in Afghanistan.

A household survey undertaken in in five Afghan provinces found that the of people voluntarily returning decreased ificantly from to Return migration to Afghanistan, as with emigration from the country, is characterized by mixed motivations, and returnees do not fit a standard profile.

Returns can be voluntary or forced, for humanitarian reasons, job prospects, or a combination of factors. Returnees face many challenges to reintegration, including multiple displacements after return in a continued context of conflict. Undocumented Afghans living in Pakistan and Iran also comprise a ificant portion of returnees. Both registered refugees and undocumented Afghans may return spontaneously by their own means, be deported, or be subjected to government and community threats and pressure to leave their host communities and return to Afghanistan.

The distinction between returning refugees and undocumented voluntary returnees is narrowing, however. Vulnerable undocumented spontaneous returnees often arrive on the Afghan side of the border in genuinely refugee-like situations, and are no better equipped to cope and reintegrate than returning refugees registered with UNHCR. Yet registered refugee returnees are treated very differently from undocumented spontaneous returnees and those who have been deported, even though their immediate postarrival circumstances and needs are almost identical.

The difference in treatment illustrates the siloization in migrant categorization in Afghanistan and the lack of comprehensive reintegration initiatives. While returning registered refugees, by dint of international refugee conventions, generally have access to reintegration assistance from UNHCR within Afghanistan, the most a spontaneous returnee can hope for is one-time, immediate humanitarian assistance from the International Organization for Migration IOM or another international organization.

Given the unanticipated spike in spontaneous arrivals inthere were not enough resources available to provide such assistance to all vulnerable returnees. On a smaller scale than regional returns, the deportation and return of unsuccessful Afghan asylum seekers from European states—mainly of young males—has also become a concern. Although few intheir reintegration is thought highly likely to fail because the conditions that pushed them to leave in the first place are still present, and reinforced by a lack of social and family networks, disconnect between their skills and limited economic opportunities in their communities of return, and a general lack of education and retraining opportunities, often leading to a financial obligation to seek remigration to justify investments made and debts incurred.

As such, the likelihood of further displacement or remigration remains high. Distinct reintegration support initiatives for returnees from higher-income, more developed host countries, however, do exist in some cases. Former host countries such as Austria, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Australia often fund such initiatives in order to facilitate sustainable return.

As such, the focus tends to be on short-term deliverables, such as cash grants, housing allowance, and small business or vocational training, rather than longer-term activities. Despite some concerted efforts from the Afghan government to devise and establish a coherent reintegration policy, the existing return and reintegration framework remains ad hoc and driven largely by the wishes of donor governments. This model is reaching the end of its effectiveness. Increasingly both the Afghan government and the international humanitarian community present in-country are considering comprehensive reintegration strategies, largely in the context of potential forced mass return of undocumented Afghan migrants and refugees from Pakistan or Iran.

These conversations are hampered by a lack of long-term planning about how best to reintegrate returnees into communities and the economy in such a way that former migrants can contribute and fulfill their potential without remigrating or being further displaced. This lack of long-term forethought can largely be explained by a singular focus on addressing immediate, life-saving humanitarian needs of returnees by the Afghan government, humanitarian actors, and international donors.

Amid the greater migration flows, cities such as Kabul have experienced threefold growth in the last decade. The urban challenge is thus twofold: managing public protection and employment expectations, and a pressing policy concern that requires greater attention to how migration, urbanization, and security interact.

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