Asylum and Labor Migration to Iran
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Asylum and Labor Migration to Iran book
Unlike in Pakistan, where Afghans have benefited from international aid and great freedom of movement, the Iranian authorities have always restricted the activity of outside bodies (UN, ICRC, NGOs) and allowed very few refugees camps to be created. But, while watching their every move, they have integrated them into the labor market. Already before the war, many Afghans were going to Iran in search of work, and the Afghan community there largely consisted of young unmarried men working in the large urban centers. All kinds of activity were forbidden to them, however, so that they were essentially left with unskilled and poorly paid manual labor (Centlivres 1989). Forced to spread out in search of work, Hazaras did not establish forms of sociability and solidarity comparable to those in Quetta. They often stayed for several years-the period required to make the initial effort worthwhile-and sent any spare money back to their family in Afghanistan. They might gather together temporarily, depending on the employment situation, but only in very few cases did they think of settling in Iran for good.