Millions of Afghan immigrants live in Iran under challenging economic conditions, out of which around one-third are women with limited employment opportunities, Khaama Press reported, citing published statistics.
Asifa Stanekzai, a women’s rights activist in Iran, stated that undocumented immigrants in Iran are at risk of “forced” deportation, with the most significant restrictions being on education and employment.
According to Stanekzai, migrant women in Iran are mostly engaged in home-based occupations such as sewing, which, in her view, is related to limitations in “employment generation” and “cultural” issues.
Furthermore, the Iranian newspaper ‘Ham-Maihan’ also emphasised in a report titled ‘Migrant Women: Invisible Workers’ that Afghan women migrants in Iran are employed in underground workshops for low wages.
According to unofficial statistics, approximately 4 to 5 million migrants, of which 90 per cent are Afghan migrants, live in Iran, with 41 per cent of them being women.
Stanekzai also attributes one of the reasons for women’s migration to Iran to the educational limitations in Afghanistan and the desire to go to European countries.
She adds that there is no legal organisation dedicated to addressing the problems of migrant women in Iran, and only the Immigration Department and people’s councils collaborate in this area.
However, it is worth noting that according to Iranian media reports, Afghan migrant women are actively involved in the production sector in Iran, but broader acceptance of Afghan women in the public sphere is still lacking.
Stanekzai mentioned that human rights organisations in Iran have not been active in addressing the challenges faced by Afghan migrants.
It should be noted that an Iranian newspaper mentioned the life of an Afghan migrant woman who has spent twenty years working in various professions, including carpet weaving, nursing, and house painting. However, due to not having legal residency, she lost her job.
Iran has hosted millions of Afghan migrants for decades, imposing various restrictions on Afghan migrant families and forcing them into low-paying and labour-intensive jobs for many years.
At the same time, the trend of deporting Afghan migrant families from Iran is on the rise, with the Iranian Foreign Minister recently emphasising that Iran, unlike in the past, cannot provide services to Afghan migrants.
(with inputs from ANI)