Iran plans to expel tens of thousands of Afghanis, who are working in the country illegally, in order to create more jobs for Iranians.
The campaign will also include heavy fines or imprisonment for their employers, the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported. Incentives will be offered to employees who replace Afghani workers with Iranians.
The measure was initiated as the Iranian government is being criticized for the way it is handling Iran’s economic affairs.
About three million Afghanis are currently living in Iran. An estimated 1.3 million are working, but only a few thousand have licenses to work, an official from the Iranian Labor Ministry said.
According to Iranian news sources, the government hopes to create between 300,000 and 400,000 job openings for Iranians and lower the unemployment rate.
Over the years, many Afghanis have fled to the neighboring Iran following wars and instability in their country. More than 1.4 million Afghanis have returned to Afghanistan since 2002, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
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