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Stories of Return: Kurdistan- Iraq


“Stories of Return” is an account of the success that the Reintegration fund has achieved since 2002.
Over 1,500 cases have been assisted with people benefiting from the financial assistance under the VARRP to establish small businesses,
Continue their education, and learn new skills for job placements.

About the Reintegration Fund 

The Reintegration Fund was created in June 2002 to provide financial support to returnees who return under the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP).

Reintegration assistance consists of: 

Vocational training courses, help in small business set up and help with education. The reintegration assistance never gives cash and all assistance is in your home country.

If you would like more information, please contact IOM London at:
Or visit

 The Reintegration Process

  1. Before you leave the UK, you need to apply for reintegration assistance
  2. IOM (UK) reintegration team will discuss reintegration possibilities with you
  3. You then leave the UK and your application for reintegration assistance is sent to Shahi-Chiya, IOM’s ;ocal partner in Arbil
  4. Once in Iraq, you can discuss reintegration option in more detail with Shahi-Chiya
  5. You decide exactly how you want to use this assistance
  6. IOM (UK) approves your project and payments are made

IOM London reintegration team would like to thank all IOM colleagues and partners who have contributed to the success of the Reintegration Fund.
The VARRP is co-funded by the European Refugee Fund (ERF)

Ahmed Aziz

aAhmad Aziz is 40 years old a returnee from UK under VARRP. He was born in Ella Allah village under Erbil governorate, he did not attend the school because at that time (1966) there was no in the village. Therefore he worked as a sheep breeder with his father till 1985. He emigrated his village with family and settled in Erbil, He worked as a building worker till 1995. He worked in cloths selling business before departure to UK. In He settled Coventry in 25/07/2005 his case was rejected therefore he decided to return to Iraq voluntarily through IOM help to live with his family (wife, two sons and three daughters)

And he arrived to Erbil Airport in 11/1/2006. He approached SHCH where he received many counseling sessions on reintegration activities available and after some consideration he made his mind and decided to start up his previous job cloth business. He was assisted by IOM, Ahmad is now happy with his shop for selling clothes that ensure him a fix income

Weshyar Naif

weshyarWeshyar Naif is a returnee from UK under the VARRP. He is 30 years old. He finished his elementary school in Erbil before starting work as a construction worker using the mouldboard through 1996-2002. In July 2003 He left for the UK and settled in Birmingham.  Weshyar dreamed of a better life in the UK. Unfortunately, he did not have the permit to work there and remained Social Benefit (SB). His case for asylum was rejected so lost hope and applied to the IOM assistance programme and arrived home in October 8th 2005. Now he lives with his 4 kids and wife in Erbil. He approached SHCH where he received many

Counseling sessions on reintegration activities available and after some consideration he made his mind and decided to start up his previous job (construction worker). He was assisted by IOM, Weshyar has a set of roof making wood. He is happy with his work that assist him earn his family living.

Hussain Karimi

hussain-karimiHussain Kamiri is 25 years old a returnee from UK under VARRP. He was born in Erbil city; he attended till 2nd stage in secondary school. On 1995 he left school due to bad economical situation for his family and worked as laundry worker form 1996 till 1999 after that he worked as a labour in building construction till 2000 before departure to UK. In UK he settled Manchester on 11/04/2004. His case was  Rejected therefore he decided to return to Iraq voluntarily through IOM help to live with his family (father, mother, five sisters and four brothers) and supporting them and he arrived to Erbil Airport in 11/1/2006, He approached SHCH where he received many counseling sessions on reintegration activities available and after some consideration he made his mind and decided to start up his previous job laundry business because he have experience about laundry machine and laundry work. He was assisted by IOM; Hussain is now happy and successful with his shop for laundry work that ensures him a fix income


Abu Baker Salim

abu-baker-salimAbu Baker Salim is 37 years old born in Sulaymania city he finished Industry high school in 1991. and started his own business as soon as he graduated, he worked in dealing with buying old cars in the sale and make some renovation then resell it again to get some profit from that. he practiced this job for nine years from 1992-2001, During that time and exactly in 1993 he married Miss Zhyan 33 years old who born in Sulaimaniya also, she is primary school certificate holder. In the same year their first daughter (Lozan) born, after two years the second daughter (Roza), after another two years the third daughter born (Rawa), In 2001 they travelled to UK to get a better standard life and to insure their children life specially education because neither he or his wife have this chance to finish education up to university level, and they reached UK in 12/6/2001 , they settled in Glasgow city and sent the children to school after they made a test to defined the fit class according to their age, also he and his wife, both attended English and computer training course for eight months they applied for asylum there but unfortunately their case was refused and they were depending on social help for living. But that was not enough for this family so Mr. Abo Baker worked in black market for two years, it was a hard work dealing with different electronic equipment seller specially computers (2002-2004), In 2003 their fourth child (Raydine) born.

After a long journey in UK without getting asylum they decided to go back to Iraq, for that they asked IOM help and they got the permission to go back according to IOM program and they reached Iraq in 8/10/2005 as one family. Upon their arrival they contacted Shahi- Chyia Company in Erbil where they received several times of counselling session. and he start studding the market, his research results showed him that the rapid development which is tacking place nowadays in different governmental and private sectors enhanced using technology like computer to run their business, so Mr. Abo Bakir as he is the house holder and after discussion with his family he opted for small business component and decide to open a Computer equipments and photocopy machine selling shop he is very glad he was enabled to support his family through IOM’s assistance regarding his business start-up. In addition to IOM’s assistance, Mr. Abu baker Salim Kadir working experience which he gained in UK has come to be of great importance to his business. Within this short period of time Mr. Abu baker Salim Kadir managed to attract quite high number of customers. In meantime, through his sufficient income he managed to provide his children a suitable financial environment and cover his family’s expenses. Mr. Abu baker Salim Kadir appreciated IOM’s assistance for making him able to reintegrate properly within his society. For more improvement Mr. Abo Baker would like IOM’s long lasting support in terms of keeping contact and further assistance in future as well.

Farhad Said Mustafa

farhadFarhad Said Mustafa is 38 years old. He was born in Hilla, Iraq. He is graduated from Industrial Preparatory School (mechanic Dept) in 1989. Right after graduation he was enthusiastic to practice the course he has studied. He started working at an Oil Change Shop. Since it was his specialization to deal with automobile related works he could obtain a good reputation noticeably over the ten years of work. In August 2000 he decided to leave Iraq to the U.K like his all other fellow citizens imagining he could fulfill his dreams earn a better living standard in Europe. In the U.K he settled in London. He received the first refusal of his asylum in 26/01/2001 consequently he was denied work permit. Along the period of his stays abroad he Was depending on the NASS benefit for his daily living Mr. Farhad became extremely disappointed against his expectations in getting asylum. He found IOM’s assistance programme an opportunity to return home to which he arrived in January 2006.

Now he lives with his parents in Sulaimaniya. Upon arrival he decided to resume his previous work. Since he has no savings and could not afford money to set up the business on his own he decided to enter into partnership with his friend who was his colleague at the same course of study. They both reached a decision to open an oil change shop on equal parts. His friend could manage to rent a shop. He has spent his due amount of the share in the shop and Mr. Farhad contributed with a small amount and he is waiting the approval of his case with IOM to complete his business plan and become a real partner to his friend. He is now functioning in the shop and has already retained almost all his customers who were familiar with his works in the past. Mr. Farhad is happy with his job as he says. “I am grateful to IOM who helped me and supported my decision to return back home country. I live happily among my family and could retain my previous career and friends.” He further added, “Now I am busy with getting married and create my own family.”