Top diaspora corridors can be indicated as (2020 – stock data, UNDESA):

  1. Iraq – Germany (0.2 million)
  2. Iraq – USA (0.2 million)
  3. Iraq – Turkey (0.2 million)
  4. Iraq – Jordan (0.2 million)

When it comes to Iraqis that are residing abroad, many of them remain in the neighbourhood of their home country. There are about 0.8 million in the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia), 0.2 million in Jordan and 0.2 million in Turkey. A few Iraqi refugees from the early 2000s conflicts still reside in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

In 2020 Western Europe hosted some 648,000 people born in Iraq – with Germany and Sweden hosting the largest groups. Most of Iraqis were either recognised refugees and people benefiting from humanitarian protection, or have followed under the family reunification programmes.

In North America, through refugee resettlement programmes over 330,000 had moved to the USA and Canada, and only some of them based on skills.

Existing Iraqi diaspora engagement practices

While institutionalised diaspora engagement through government policy is still under development in Iraq. There are some visible initiatives of Iraqi diaspora engagement, which are demonstrated below:

Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) is an IOM initiative that aimed to engages the diasporas to support the development of their countries of origin through the transfer of knowledge and expertise. Iraq was a beneficiary country and has received support under CD4D2 in the areas of education, health and infrastructure.   

Iraqi Medical Sciences Association (IMSA-USA) is a “non-profit, non-political educational and humanitarian organisation. The members are physicians, dentists, pharmacists, scientists, and other health science professionals of Iraqi descent or other individuals who are committed to the goals of IMSA. Its broad mission is to develop and promote professional, educational, cultural, and humanitarian charitable efforts for the community nationally and for the international community of our country of origin, Iraq.”

SPARK (Migrant Entrepreneurship [MEP]) “offers training and coaching packages for diaspora in the Netherlands with ambitions to start a business back in their country of origin.” One of the key target countries is Iraq.

The Iraq Britain Business Council “brings together business, trade and investment, for the benefit of the Republic of Iraq and its members. It is a powerful network of some of the most important global corporations as well as key Iraqi and British companies and trade chambers and enjoys the highest-level of support from governments and the European Union.”

Iraqi Youth Foundation (IYF) – UK is “a non-profit organisation that aims to bring together young Iraqis from all walks of life and promote a common identity beyond the differences emphasised in recent years. Founded in 2005 by a group of young Iraqis, we aim to: Encourage constructive dialogue and respect for all opinions amongst Iraqi youth; educate youth in the United Kingdom on Iraq’s history, culture and current affairs build bridges between Iraqi youth in the UK and in Iraq, and encourage an active interest in helping Iraq and its people build their future.”

Access Germany Iraq (AGI) is a “German consultancy company based in the former capital city of Bonn. Since 2005, hundreds of Iraqi scientists, medical doctors and company leaders gained expertise through qualification programmes arranged by AGI. AGI builds a human bridge between Germany and Iraq that brings knowledge, understanding and development from each side to the other.”

Swedish-Iraqi Chamber of Commerce “was established in 2007 to strengthen relations and increase trade exchanges between Sweden and New Iraq. The initiative to establish the Chamber of Commerce has been taken as a necessary step to participate and assist in the direction and policy aimed at stabilising Iraq through improvement of economy, increased employment and well-functioning trade and prosperity.”