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The Tian Shan Policy Center of AUCA and the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Central Asia presented a study on migration and the Migration Yearbook 2023: Influence of the COVID-19 on formation of migration policy of countries of Central Asia and the Russian Federation

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The Tian Shan Policy Center of AUCA and the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Central Asia presented a study on migration and the Migration Yearbook 2023: Influence of the COVID-19 on formation of migration policy of countries of Central Asia and the Russian Federation

March 18, 2024

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The authors of the yearbook are experts: Leyla Delovarova (section on Kazakhstan), Tatiana Zlobina (section on Kyrgyzstan), Dmitry Poletaev (sections on Russia and Turkmenistan), Saodat Olimova (section on Tajikistan), Lyudmila Maksakova (section on Uzbekistan).

"In 2017, we entered into an agreement with the Hanns Seidel Foundation to conduct a series of studies on internal migration in Kyrgyzstan. The goal of our latest research is to identify the causes, trends, and problems of internal migration, the role of local self-government bodies and other state bodies in effectively addressing internal migration issues, as well as to develop recommendations for state and municipal authorities for effective management of internal migration processes," - reminded Kanat Sultanaliev, Executive Director of the Tian-Shan Policy Center, AUCA.

Migration expert for Kyrgyzstan, Tatiana Zlobina, presented the results to Kyrgyzstan's government officials.

If we follow the report, the structure of migration inflow from Central Asian countries to Russia has been changing. According to the EADB, the share of citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic arriving in Russia decreased from 19.9% in 2021 to 15.2% in 2023 in the total migration structure. According to Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs statistics, the total number of border crossings by citizens of Kyrgyzstan in the past year amounted to 1.1 million. It is assumed that about 700 thousand citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic entered for employment purposes. The National Statistical Committee reports that 872.9 thousand people left the country, of which 99.5% went to CIS countries, and 4 thousand people, or 0.5%, went to countries outside the CIS. The main destination countries for migrants are Russia (870.3 thousand people), Kazakhstan (2.2 thousand people), Turkey (1.8 thousand people).

"It is necessary to understand the status of this research; it is not an analytical work, it is a review, it is a collection of facts for the past period that have allowed to shape new directions of migration policy in the CA countries under the influence of conflicts developing in our region. Russia is included in the weekly edition, although it is not part of the Central Asian region, but it is a destination country for migrant workers. And our legislative and migration policy is developing in interrelation both in the countries of origin of migrants and in the destination countries," - said Zlobina at the yearbook presentation.

Trends in external labor migration for the CA countries:

  • Expansion of the geography of employment;
  • Increase in the volume of organized employment;
  • Inclusion in the recruitment system of Western countries;
  • Growing demand for qualified labor in recipient countries;
  • Modernization of the organizational management system for external and internal migration."

According to Tatiana Zlobina, all the data in the yearbook were collected over two years. This plies primarily to changes in laws in the Central Asian countries.

During the presentation on state policy in the field of migration, Tatiana Zlobina noted that there is no separate agency to address migration issues, and the mandate of the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection, and Migration is huge, the work of the Council on Migration, Compatriots, and Foreign Diaspora under the Toraga ZHK KR - a coordinating role, but it is not institutionally regulated.

The presentation also outlined forecasts for the CA and Russia. Prospects for labor migration to Russia, primarily from the Central Asian countries, are determined by a significant labor shortage, which intensified in 2022-2024. While there is no significant outflow of labor migrants from Russia, there is a growing structural shortage of labor in Russia.

In the medium and long term, there will be a gradual liberalization of migration legislation and an increase in flexibility in migration management. This is evidenced by changes in legislation in recent years: the adoption of a repatriation law, permission to retain existing citizenship when acquiring Russian citizenship, and others.

As for the forecasts for the development of some migration processes in Kyrgyzstan, according to the expert, due to the high level of inflation, the rise in prices will continue at approximately the same rates as external labor migration, thanks to the work of the Center for Employment Abroad under the MTSOM of the KR will increase the level of diversification of labor markets for migrants from the country. In the long term, the migration resource of the Central Asian countries will be preserved.

The population in the Central Asian countries will mainly remain young, with a high proportion of the working-age population and migration potential. Russia and Kazakhstan will remain the destination countries for the majority of migrants, the popularity of the Green Card will increase, and the popularity of the "Compatriots" program will decrease.

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