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Western and Southern Asian migration route

Afghans, Iranians, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Syrians are among the migrants who travel from Western and Southern Asia to the Mediterranean. However, the only information available on irregular migrants who traveled this route was limited to Afghans and Pakistanis. The precise pathways of Afghan and Pakistani illegal migrants to Europe are unknown. And there is scant information on the routes used by Syrians, Iraqis, and Iranians, for example.

The main smuggling route for irregular Afghan migrants to Greece is from Afghanistan via Iran, then to Turkey, and finally to Greece. The sites of departure inside Afghanistan influence migration pathways in part.

Afghans leaving from the south and east of the nation, for example, tend to enter Pakistan first, but migrants from the west of Afghanistan pass directly into Iran.


Iran is home to a large number of Afghans, Iraqis, and Pakistanis. Afghanistan and Pakistanis use Iran as a significant transit country. And these groups illustrate Turkey’s significant onward movement to Greece. The majority of people cross the Iranian border on foot or by automobile, then take a car or van to the city of Zahedan before continuing on to the Iranian destinations of Salmas and Orumijeh. The Tehran province is a crucial location where migrants organize arrangements with smuggling brokers and wait for a while before continuing on to the next phase of their journey, which is reaching Orumijeh and the Salmas mountain.

Migrants in Pakistan generally walk via the towns of Quetta and Balochistan before crossing the Iranian border. Pakistanis were discovered to travel in a similar manner to Afghans, with many passing via the city of Quetta before continuing on.

Greece and Turkey

After crossing Iran, migrants in groups of 50 to 100 persons may cross the steep Iranian-Turkish border by foot throughout the night, guided by two traffickers. The undocumented migrants then board a bus bound for Turkey. In Turkey, the first stops are typically in Van provincial cities, from whence migrants continue on to Istanbul.

Migrants will then attempt to reach the Greek coast with the assistance of smugglers until 2016. This has shifted in recent years, with many attempting to travel into Greece or Bulgaria by land.
Due to the development of the Single European Market in the 1980s, many Pakistanis relocated to Greece, and many migrants anticipated being able to easily move within the former European Economic Community. Greece is currently a major transit point for many undocumented Pakistanis attempting to travel to other European countries.


In 2007, the cost of traveling from Afghanistan was expected to be around € 5,500, rising to between € 7,000 and € 12,000 in 2009, and remaining between € 4,500 and € 5,500 in 2010. Due to decreasing demand, the cost of the route to Greece for Pakistani nationals was rapidly declining in 2012.

Sources: United Nations UniversityIrregular Migration Routes to Europe and Factors Influencing Migrants’ Destination Choices

Photo by Cami Talpone on Unsplash.


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