Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





Migration of young people still a major challenge in Kurdistan

By Rudaw 23/2/2017
Kurdish refugees in Italy.
Kurdish refugees in Italy.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Since 2003, nearly 55,000 people have returned to the Kurdistan Region from years of exile in the West, but after the deterioration of Kurdish finances two years ago, a new wave of young Kurds has gone overseas in search of a better life, according to the Minister of Social Affairs Muhammad Hawdiani. 

“The Kurdistan Region is still struggling with economic and political crises with high unemployment and many other critical issues,” Hawdiani told Rudaw, which he said were some of the factors behind the mass migration of young people. 

According to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration, over 25,000 people from the Kurdistan Region, mostly young men, have left the country since 2015 hoping for asylum in a European country, but the figures could be considerably larger as no accurate data is available.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), over one million migrants reached European shores after long, complicated, and risky journeys in 2015. The IOM report suggests that Iraqis represented the third largest group of migrants, with nearly 85,000 arriving to Greece by sea in the second half of 2015 alone. How many were Kurds is not clear from the report.

Kurdish authorities have tried to dissuade young people from emigrating and asked for restraint in the face of economic difficulties in the region.  

With an average growth of 10 percent a year from 2005 through 2014, the Kurdistan Region went through a major economic transformation with better living standards than the rest of Iraq, which had plunged into a sectarian war after the ouster of the former regime. 

After the mass exodus of Kurds in the 1990s following the Kurdish Civil War, the current wave of emigration is probably the largest after a decade of steady economic growth and relative political stability in the country. 

The rapid financial boom in Kurdistan after 2005 helped to reverse the migration as thousands of families returned to a region with sustainable prosperity and a wide range of business opportunities. 

The lingering economic tensions between Baghdad and Erbil which sent the Kurdish economy into unprecedented recession, however, have pushed many young Kurds to prefer the risky path to Europe over a life in Iraq or Kurdistan. 

The Kurdistan Region has vast natural resources including over 45 billion barrels of oil which authorities have struggled to build an industry on since 2005 as middle size and giant oil companies entered the region and signed long term deals. The Iraqi government has frozen large parts of the Kurdish share of the national budget due to these oil deals. 

The ministry of social affairs, in coordination with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), held a conference in Erbil this week to discuss mass migration of young people who constitute the bulk of Kurdish migrants. 

“This conference will explore the reasons behind youth migration and the impact of their leaving Kurdistan and of course the remedy and how to solve this dilemma,” Hawdiani said.  



Stewee Guy
Stewee Guy | 23/2/2017
Well, When our politicians stick to the chair until they die what do you expect the young people to do ??????
wan | 23/2/2017
KRG must end corruption and nepotism everywhere and punish those who do it even if he is a family member of the President and then most of the youth will stay and not leave.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Hamid Sayadi | 7/19/2018 4:15:51 AM
Zagroz you are full of HOT air.
Zagros | 7/20/2018 5:27:06 AM
Pete, if you had traveled the world as you claim then you'd have known that Rojava is not the most egalitarian system in the world. You'd have known...
Assad or Turkey? Uncertainty surrounds future of Qamishli
| 17/7/2018 | (12)
Ham | 7/20/2018 3:33:59 AM
Such a small operation and rudaw makes a big issue about it. Without coalition aurstrikes ISIS would be in Erbil Bagdad and even Tehran. ISIS took...
Coalition hails ‘outstanding’ Peshmerga-ISF operation in Makhmour
| yesterday at 11:22 | (1)
Persian voice | 7/19/2018 10:43:20 PM
I think this Azeri minster is deliberately trying to create separatism, the very thing he pretends to be defending against. He knows very very well...
Iraniannationalist | 7/20/2018 12:09:44 AM
Both PM Hadi Bahadori and Minister Mohammad Bathaei are Seyed, so they're not Iranian. However article 15 of the constitution should be del...
Minister warns of 'dangers' of education in languages other than Persian
| 20 hours ago | (5)
FAUthman | 7/19/2018 2:30:21 PM
There is no doubt that in the two hour one on one meeting between Trump and Putin Syria's developments were discussed esp the next military moves by...
Mohamedzzz | 7/19/2018 5:39:19 PM
''A deal was reached Tuesday between regime-backer Russia and rebel-ally Turkey''... I always said Turkey 'IS' the problem, Problems cannot be solved...
Thousands evacuate pro-regime Syria towns
| yesterday at 05:05 | (2)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Thousands evacuate pro-regime Syria towns yesterday at 05:05 | (2)

Thousands evacuate pro-regime Syria towns

A deal was reached Tuesday between regime-backer more
Turkey’s state of emergency ends, but crackdown fears remain yesterday at 03:30 | (1)

Turkey’s state of emergency ends, but crackdown fears remain

"Government appears determined to continue the more
0.484 seconds