The situation of Afghans in neighboring countries remains one of the worlds largest and most
longstanding refugee and displacement problems. Despite the significant returns of Afghans to their
homeland since 2002
an estimated 920,000 documented Afghans 2 and one million undocumented
Afghans remain in Iran today. This population is composed of registered and undocumented refugees,
mainly families who left to Iran at the onset of conflict in Afghanistan, and single adult males who
continue to migrate to Iran clandestinely in the search of economic opportunities. The current migration
flow from Afghanistan to Iran is predominantly composed of these migrant workers.
Single individuals move back and forth between Afghanistan and Iran, a movement that is unlikely to end
as it is a key livelihoods strategy for populations in Afghanistan (AREU 2005). Afghan families benefit
from remittances sent from family members who migrate to Iran for work purposes, a trend which
continues even in the face of restrictive measures taken by the Iranian government. Dissuasive measures
have not succeeded in curbing irregular migration. Adult males persist on crossing the border
clandestinely, relying on a thriving smuggling system, on transnational networks of relatives and friends
settled in Iran and on an informal labour market in Iran, mainly in the construction sector.