Considering the declared priority of the 13th administration since the presidential elections campaign and efforts of the respectable president, organizing and dynamizing the High Council of Iranian Affairs Abroad have become the priority of the foreign minister. Dr. Amirabdollahian took and enforced a number of important decisions following several visits to the Consular and Documents Certification sections to facilitate services to the compatriots, the objective result of which being formation of daily queues at the entrance gates of the Consular and Documents Certification sections to speed carrying out our compatriots’ affairs. Next step was to hold and preside a meeting of specialized taskforces of the High Council of Iranians, during which he stressed the importance of pathology of trust-building deficiencies and strengthening the identity of the compatriots abroad; he declared three priorities of the diplomacy apparatus concerning the High Council of Iranians as facilitating services, weakening Iranophobia and formation of a council of trustees in various countries and stressed teaching the Persian language; He stressed the Iranian culture and civilization and exact execution of the regulations alongside anticipation of the enactment of new regulations, especially in the Conscription and Nationality sections and evaluated the participation of representatives of all bodies , especially the Islamic Consultative Assembly, in decision-making as important.
No doubt, planning and addressing our compatriots’ affairs will bear valuable long term interests for Iran and will slow down the trend of immigration of the elite. Under present circumstances, with strong resolve of the president, His Excellency Mr. Seyed Ibrahim Raisi, on addressing the Iranians affairs, strengthening the High Council of Iranians is inevitable and it seems, following trust-building, especially through establishing the Current Services Facilitation System and defending the citizens’ rights of the compatriots abroad, there will many possibilities for using the Iranians abroad in the form of investment and jobs creation, especially in thousands of unfinished civil plans of Iran, holding joint higher education courses, performing joint research projects and educational workshops as well as facilitating tourism after the harsh corona era conditions end. A statistical reality tells us that more than 100 countries house an Iranian diaspora of 5 million (Iranians residing abroad) and the average capital of Iranians abroad is between $400 thousands to $600 thousands per capita.
One way for a person to improve their employment and education and find a better life is to immigrate. This subject has been paid attention to in the origins of Islam to spread this Abrahamic religion by the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and during various historical periods its various social, political, security, scientific, cultural and religious types have been experienced; a phenomenon which has been met with intangible and calculated welcome of the admitters during various eras in an exploiting manner, that is immigration of the elite and brain-drain which have been the end of the developed countries like the US, Canada, Australia, and western Europe, since years ago; a topic which since the third millennium and by rise of education, training human force costs and decrease of birth rate in the western world has taken a more serious dimension. Along these lines, with the current population, the EU needs annually one million skilled workforces. Today, the cost of educating an M.A. or a general Ph.D. graduate is nearly estimated one million dollars and unfortunately during recent years we have been witnessing the immigration of our country’s high-ranking elite and graduated students from the best Iranian universities and holders of state and international Olympiad medals go to several specific destinations like the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, which despite all warnings by those worried and emotional reactions, little have we been witnessing planning and implementing of measured and calculated programs to utilize the human capital which has these days changed shape to intelligent capital.
According to the poll by Gallup, the Islamic Republic of Iran ranks 7th in the world in terms of the adults inclined to immigrate. Also, based on the statistics of the UN, the ratio of the Iranian international immigrants to the whole world has increased during the 1990-2000 period, then decreased during the 2005-2015 period, and again increased during the 2016-2020 to 2.7 million people , a figure which in other statistics amounts to 5 to 6 million , and the US, Canada, the UAE, Germany, the UK, and Sweden respectively have accommodated the most Iranian immigrants, and the Iranian immigrant population residing in the mentioned six countries constitutes over 70% of the Iranian immigrants abroad. According to statistics by the Research Center of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, up to year 2010, about 60 thousand Iranian elite immigrated from the country ,mostly Olympiad medalists and high-ranking university entrance testing students. Also, the total capital of the Iranians abroad in 2020 reached over $3 trillion.
Over the last 15 years, the number of Iranian citizens who have received long term residence in Europe has multiplied by 20 and a large chunk of the Iranian immigrants is classified as migration of human capital or brain-drain, that is immigration of educated and specialist workforce , to continue their education. According to the latest statistics, the number of Iranian immigrants with university degrees has risen from 290 thousands to 1 million over the last two decades. While based on the information from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, at present, about 70 thousand Iranian students are studying at varying university levels in other countries. The five main targets of Iranian students are the US, Turkey, Germany, Italy, and Canada. The US for four decades has been the main target: “in 2018, 12 thousands and 142 Iranian students were studying in the US.” The second target in recent years has been Turkey. The 2017 statistics show that this country has hosted more than 6 thousand Iranian students and the next destinations are Germany and Italy respectively.
It is worth noting that at the seminar, after detailed explanation by the consular deputy, the Iranians, the Parliament the Foreign Ministry, heads of specialized taskforces of those in charge of economic, religion and thinking, science and technology, culture and language, legal and Judicial, university and student committees, and the General Director of Iranians expressed their specialized opinions to improve services to the compatriots abroad.
Generally, the compatriots abroad have no expectation but to have consular and student services facilitated and to remove their legal and Judicial obstacles and as said by the respectable foreign minister it is necessary that first the consular and civil status services process be facilitated to gain the trust of the compatriots to invest in the country, and transfer experience and know-how and find motivation to implement joint ventures. The reality is the capacity and readiness of our representatives, especially the consular section forces, are not up to immediate responses adapted to the third millennium conditions and it is urgent that the representations be continually supported and strengthened in the two sections of human force according to the needs and education. Last, the institute for managing the Iranians abroad which has been passed among various departments over the last three decades ,while experiencing all managing levels, has been in some sort of stagnation and static status and needs strengthening and reforms proportionate with the huge human and economic capital of the Iranians abroad, and we have to change view towards this valuable capital in the political, social, and economic areas to more than ever gain the trust of the Iranians abroad , and in doing so, the Institute for Political and International studies can in the form of a taskforce of research and education management play a role in the area of Iranians’ affairs.
Ali Beman Eghbalizarch, Senior Expert of European Studies