My name is Ali* and I wasted some of my best years in the Netherlands
It was about three years ago when my father and I traveled from Iran to the Netherlands. I was 17 at the time and it was an exciting and joyful experience for me. Shortly after our arrival, we learned from friends about the possibility of getting a permanent residence permit. My father had to return to Iran but I stayed to get my residence permit.
After a while, my visa expired and I applied for permanent residence. Had I known how long and complicated the procedure would be, I would have never had taken this road. I did not have permission to work or study, which added to my disappointment and made my situation even more unbearable.
Most of the time I kept thinking about the uncertainty of my future in the Netherlands and I dreamed of a new start somewhere else in the world. At the same time, I was also thinking of the possibility to return to Iran, but all the time I was still hoping to receive a residence permit. This never materialized... Finally, after three years of drifting aimlessly in the Netherlands, I decided to go back home.
When I look back at all the years I spent in the Netherlands, I realize that I simply wasted my youth looking for a vain hope. There is so much to do when you are 17 to 20 years old: school, friendships, your first job! I had accomplished none of these by staying in the Netherlands! This is why I don't regret my decision to return. Whether you like it or not, return is the only option for people in my situation.
Now I am back in Iran I have many splendid plans for the future: I’m thinking of going back to school and at the same time working in my brother’s real estate agency. It will definitely be a hard and long way to go, but not impossible. I want to make up for all that lost time in my life. And, above all, I am looking forward to being with my family. Life revolves around one’s family. I strongly believe in family, it is a blessing to be together again.”
IOM assisted Ali during all stages of his return to Iran and helped him obtain business tools in support of in his work in his brother’s company.
*The migrant’s name has been changed for privacy purposes