Overview of Voluntary Repatriation from Pakistan to Afghanistan
UNHCR facilitates the Voluntary Repatriation of Afghan refugees as part of its mandate to provide durable solutions.
UNHCR Pakistan operates two Voluntary Repatriation Centres (VRC) in Quetta and Nowshera. Families who want to repatriate are de-registered at the VRC and their Proof of Registration (PoR) card is cut in the corner. A PoR card is an identity card for Afghan refugees that grants their temporary legal stay in Pakistan and protection against refoulement. Returnees receive a cash grant of approximately 200 USD per family member once they have reached one of the three UNHCR Encashment Centres in Afghanistan.
In 2016, a scheduling system for returnee families from VRC Azakhel (Nowshera) was established. All returnee families must now obtain a scheduled date for their return. UNHCR facilitated Voluntary Repatriation recommenced on 1 March after a three months winter break. A total of 449 families were scheduled for return in KP.
However, 428 families (95%) presented at the VRCs for their departure to Afghanistan due to number of factors.
The voluntary repatriation trend in 2019 is generally low compared to previous years. This is primarily due to the ongoing security situation in Afghanistan. Strict border entry requirements was stated as a major push factor for return during March—October. Main areas of return are Kabul, Nangarhar and Saripul provinces.
Since 2002, 4,379,709 Afghan refugees have repatriated from Pakistan with UNHCR’s assistance (see chart above). The number of refugees repatriating to Afghanistan has fluctuated over the years and has decreased substantially, from around 450,000 in 2005 to 58,211 in 2015. 2016 saw an increase of over 381,275 returns which was the highest recorded number of returns since 2005.