Hovhannes Aleksanyan, Head of Strategy Development Department at the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs

YEREVAN — The pace of repatriation is growing significantly in the past few years, according to Hovhannes Aleksanyan, the Head of the Strategy Development Department at the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs.

Aleksanyan said that 25,000 ethnic Armenians applied for Armenian citizenship in 2022, the highest annual number since 1991.

Nearly 40,000 ethnic Armenians obtained Armenian citizenship from 2018 to 2021.

“Of course, obtaining citizenship doesn’t constitute repatriation in itself, but that’s how the process begins. That’s the first and major step. Experience shows that most of them repatriate. There’s no alternative to repatriation for the development of the state,” Aleksanyan said.

Most of those who apply for citizenship and most of the repatriates are from Russia, Syria, Lebanon and other countries. Aleksanyan credits the repatriates for bringing a new educational and working culture with them. Many of them open businesses and bring their partners along. Repatriates include lawyers, experts in the areas of service, accommodation, IT, construction, and healthcare.

“We wouldn’t want to politicize this matter. It’s often being said that this is due to the war operations. Let me mention that countries with the best experience in repatriation try to use the crisis situations that allow to actively promote repatriation,” Aleksanyan said.

Speaking about the problems faced by repatriates, Aleksanyan said the circle of issues is broad – enrolling children in kindergartens and schools, housing, transporting personal items and so on. The Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs is working with all governmental circles over these issues, Aleksanyan added.

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