The number of people emigrating from Iran has reached alarming levels, putting an even greater strain on the country’s struggling economy. Although once it was primarily people working in high-level specialist professions leaving the country, the recent exodus appears to be among people working in vocational industries.
"Studies show that people who did not meet previous immigration standards are now trying to leave Iran,” Hamid Hosseini, a member of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, announced on February 15, adding that electricians, hairdressers, plumbers, cabinet makers and people working in the catering and food industries were among the current wave of people trying to leave.
"Until recently, people who had special expertise and belonged to a certain social class applied for immigration,” he said, adding that now 'ordinary people' were finding it more feasible to pursue lives and jobs outside the country.
"Managers working for companies that offer emigration services personally told me they used to have between 30 and 40 applications a week, submitted by highly-qualified and educated people, but in the current situation, the number of applications has reached 180, indicating an increase in the desire to emigrate from Iran."
He described the trend of skilled laborers leaving the country as “interesting,” adding: "If before only educated people wanted to leave Iran, today people in other professions are also hoping to emigrate. This should worry policymakers."
Asked if the situation would improve if sanctions were lifted, Hosseini said: “People in society want peace, but politicians are constantly doing things like blocking websites and disrupting the country’s state of mind through the day-to-day measures it takes, instigating a crisis."
The Islamic Republic has one of the highest emigration rates among ‘elite’ professions and the highly educated.
Recently the secretary general of an Iranian association that looks at talents and qualifications in Iran's workplace stated that 82 of Iran's 86 Olympiad medalists had emigrated from the country.
Now, as Hosseini says, the ‘ordinary’ people of the country are also packing their bags and looking for a better life elsewhere.