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The Islamic Republic of Iran is a country of origin, transit and destination for migrants due to its geopolitics, demographics and economic opportunities. It also remains one of the largest refugee hosting countries in the world. A large Iranian Diaspora is scattered in the region and beyond in Western Europe, North America and Australia. The country also remains vulnerable to various forms of irregular migration including trafficking and smuggling. As the Islamic Republic of Iran is facing many new migration challenges its government is looking forward to a more cohesive approach to develop a policy framework as well as to evolve its institutional structures.

The Islamic Republic of Iran had joined IOM as an observer in 1995 and was accepted as a full member in IOM’s Governors’ Council in 2001. Since 2004, IOM has changed its refugee-oriented approach and adopted a guiding programme/policy-oriented approach with the purpose of assisting the Islamic Republic of Iran in migration management issues and tackling the new challenges which the country faces.

IOM assists the government to deal with such challenges in a variety of programme areas and is progressing towards higher level interventions to manage migration in a comprehensive manner and within the regional context. IOM’s strategic approach is now based on the four pillars of capacity enhancement, policy advocacy, policy-oriented research and regional cooperation.

In order for the Islamic Republic of Iran to benefit from international experiences in the area of migration management, IOM emphasizes the promotion of quality management potential and the continuation of broad-based strategies. To this end, the following activities have been undertaken:

  • Technical cooperation with the Governmental entities of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the area of migration management and policy development
  • Combating irregular migration, including human trafficking and migrant smuggling
  • Conducting researches and advisory programmes on labour migration
  • Facilitating voluntary return and reintegration from and to Iran
  • Cooperation in border management
  • Development of national and regional migration policies and strategies.

Migration and Development


  • Government of Belgium
  • Government of Australia
  • Government of Japan

Academy for Migration and Refugee Studies (AMRS)
Established in 2004, the Academy for Migration and Refugee Studies aims to enhance the prospect of sustainable humanitarian assistance to stranded migrants and refugees and provide various services to migrants in the Islamic Republic of Iran through capacity building and collaborating with the government for awareness raising and approach-oriented development.

The core objective of the programme is to bridge the gaps in the “know-how” of migration management and further strengthen the Academy as an existing unique multilateral knowledgebase in Iran so as to ensure an inclusive and sustainable capacity, through mutual cooperation, for the migration managers of the country. To that end IOM is working with its partners in the implementation of this programme to:

  • Extend knowledge on management of migration and migration-related issues at the service of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Promote the use of information and knowledge on migration management to achieve a comprehensive and inclusive migration and asylum policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Address new and emerging challenges of population movement, migration and refugee issues, at the national and regional levels
  • Promote close cooperation and partnership of all stakeholders (i.e., all relevant departments of the Government, the academia and research society, international and regional organizations) in migration management and policy formulation processes.

Return and Reintegration of Qualified and Skilled Afghan Nationals from the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (RRQSA)
This programme, funded by the Government of Japan, intends to contribute toward the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan through socio-economic capacity building in the country’s infrastructures such as education and healthcare, transportation, agriculture and farming, commerce, civil construction, development in various industries by means of the return and reintegration of qualified, skilled and semi-skilled Afghans from Iran into their home country.

The overall objective of this programme is to draw together the knowledge and expertise of scattered Afghan Nationals residing in Iran to their own country, benefiting the private and public sectors of Afghanistan to accelerate the process of development in the country.


  • Academy for Migration and Refugee Studies (AMRS)
  • Return and Reintegration of Qualified and Skilled Afghan Nationals from the Islamic Republic of Iran
    to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (RRQSA)

Regulating Migration

Assisted Voluntary Return
This programme supports temporary targeted returns and the return of vulnerable groups. Some migrants in regular situations may wish to return to their countries of origin but are unable to do so because of financial and other constraints, for example, the danger of foregoing important and hard-won benefits such as residency rights or pension entitlements. Vulnerable and/or stranded persons requiring special attention can also be allowed to avail themselves of assistance to return to their countries of origin, particularly if accompanied by some support for re-integration.


  • Assisted Voluntary Return

Facilitating Migration


  • Government of Sweden
  • Government of Norway
  • Government of Finland
  • Government of Canada
  • Government of Australia
  • And other countries for family reunifications

Resettlement Programmes
Resettlement is a sometimes unrecognized yet compelling instrument and symbol of international solidarity and burden sharing to find a durable solution for refugees who are either unable to return to their country of origin for fear of continued persecution or do not have the option to stay in their country of asylum.

Resettlement begins with the processing of refugees' requirements and ends with their placement in a local community in the country that has accepted them for permanent settlement.

IOM works closely with governments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). While most resettlement cases for logistical support are referred to IOM by UNHCR, in some instances, countries refer individuals and families directly to IOM for resettlement.

Pre-departure Medical Screening (PDMS)
Pre-Departure Medical Screening (PDMS) is a health check undertaken within 72 hours of departure for holders of refugee and humanitarian visas. PDMS is primarily to ensure that clients are healthy enough to undertake the long flight to Australia and Nordic countries and that additional support is provided throughout the flight if required. PDMS will also identify any illness that may need a follow-up in the receiving countries soon after arrival. PDMS is in addition to mandatory health checks completed prior to the grant of a visa.

PDMS protects the health of refugees by ensuring they are ‘fit to fly’ and providing referrals to healthcare services they need once they arrive in the receiving countries. PDMS also contributes to maintaining the high level of public health enjoyed by the mentioned communities, by ensuring that clients will be healthy or receive the health care needed before they travel.

Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO)
The Australian Cultural Orientation Programme (AUSCO) prepares refugees and other humanitarian entrants for initial settlement in Australia. It is a programme of orientation focusing on travel, on-arrival assistance, and managing cultural, social and economic expectations.

The cultural orientation programme includes:

  • Sessions on travel requirements, including Customs and Immigration processes
  • What to expect on-arrival to Australia by way of initial assistance
  • Introduction to the Australian lifestyle, social and cultural norms
  • Life skills training (dealing with accommodation, transport, banks, health and other day-to-day matters)
  • Understanding Australian values around law and order, gender equality, rights and responsibilities
  • Freedoms protected by law (religion, expression, assembly, non-discrimination).

AUSCO is an orientation programme that prepares refugees and humanitarian entrants for life in Australia. It is delivered in a variety of settings including refugee camps and urban centers by fully trained personnel with a sound understanding of Australia. Sessions are delivered in the language of the refugees or through a qualified interpreter. The sessions are very interactive and dynamic and a variety of teaching resources including audio-visuals are used. Teaching methodologies are learner-centered and vary according to the profile of groups being trained. IOM carries out AUSCO in a number of locations in Africa, Middle East, Iran, South East Asia and South Asia. AUSCO has a fully developed curriculum covering relevant integration topics. Classes are held for adults, pre-literates, youth and children.


  • Resettlement Programme
  • Pre-Departure Medical Screening
  • Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO)

Last updated:
Main text: May 2011
Facts and figures: August 2014

Population (2015):79.1 million
Area:1,628,750 km sq
Languages :Persian (Farsi)
Currency:Iranian Rial (IRR)
GDP per Capita PPP (2014):USD 16,323
HDI Rank (2014):69 of 188
Remittances (2014 estimate):USD 1,392 million
Net Migration Rate (2015-2020):-0.4 migrants/1,000 population
Immigrants (2015):3.4%
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants (2015):47.0%
Population under 15 (2015):23.6%
Adult HIV Prevalence (2014):0.10%

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
No.3, Ladan Alley, Khorsand St. before Jame-Jam, Vali-e-Asr Ave.
Islamic Republic of Iran

Tel: +98 21 22 02 81 70
Fax: +98.21 22 04 49 29
Email: iomtehran@iom.int
Website: http://www.iomtehran.net/