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On a visit to work

"Rabat", №10, 9.03.2011

Labor migration is a phenomenon that has spread around the world. Citizens of countries with a low standard of living and high unemployment are trying to move to more prosperous neighbor countries. This creates a number of serious problems. The world Institution of the United Nations and International Organization on Migration are engaged in solving these problems.  Our country is affected closely by this problem because Kazakhstan is receiving country. Shymkent is the city which borders with Uzbekistan,this is not hearsay.

Care of Migrants

Of course the laws on foreigners are clearly stated in Kazakhstan. Everything is provided: rendering the medical services and education. But all of this is designed to legal migrants from abroad. Those who arrived in Kazakhstan on the special quota, they do not have any problems. But they are experts, demanded in our labor market. And irregular migrants   will be threatened by punitive measures-deportation…

Last year three-year project was launched by United Nations, International Organization on Migration with the support of British government and World Bank. Working groups were set up In Moscow and St. Petersburg, in two regions of Kazakhstan – South Kazakhstan and Almaty. They include government official, NGO representatives and of course, journalists. The “triangle” should influence the situation. Prepare a number of suggestions for adopting a new law that will contribute to the effective solution of problems of labor migrants.

Patents, insurance…                   

Whatever we may say, that we are the citizens of South of Kazakhstan cannot do without the help of labor migrants. They are engaged in the constructions, baking flat bread and samsa, work in agriculture and trade. But the positions of migrants from neighboring countries are often deplorable. And there are reasons for it. May be Kazakh employers wants to legalize foreign labor but . . . the case is expensive and costly.  There are patents, insurance plus the responsibility for the life of labor migrants.  As a result, the most of labor migrant remains “in the shadows” which leads to a new problems. Their passports are taken away; they are not paid salary and are mercilessly exploited. They cannot get medical care for free the same situation with education. But according to experts, the solution can be found.

How is the situation?

Recently representative of the Government of the Council Nationalities of Moscow city Jamil Sadyhbekov visited Shymkent with the business trip. The guest knows thoroughly on the issues of labor migration. Russians are well acquainted with these problems.  The expert told to our officials, NGO representatives and journalists about finding the way from this situation. The information was very useful and interesting.

Mainly labor migrants who come to Russia are dispersed in two cities: Moscow and St.-Petersburg. They are citizens of Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine. The last countries’ citizens adapt much easier than people from Central Asia. Xenophobia and nationalist sentiments in two capitals of Russia have become common. And this is due to Mass Media, which illuminating these issue, focused on the negative, said Jamil Sadyhbekov. The opinion that labor migrants are pumping huge amount of money out of the country is spread in Russian society, although there is no confirmation to this fact. Much of the money earned by migrants, remains in the bank, which are engaged in money transfer, paid for mobile communication, apartment and food,”-said the expert.

Federal Migration Service (FMC) is engaged in recording labor migrants, and for the setting on the registration it is enough to send the application by mail.   For the legal work it is necessary to obtain a patent, and then having paid 1000 rubles per month to extend it. The state budget is replenished like that.

Nevertheless there are many illegal migrants. “We are solving the existing problems in national Diasporas – shared Jamil Sadyhbekov – they have direct access to power. There are national Mass media, which have a target audience.And there is the Council of Nationalities under Moscow government. We began from the collecting government structures which work with migrants. We shared problems, and talked about what to do, made decisions! Moreover we controlled the implementation of these decisions. Through the Diasporas we conducted job fairs and thus we legalized irregular labor migrants”. Billboards with sayings of philosophers and scientists of past and present were hung in the city in order to bring down the degree of xenophobia.

At the same time there remains problems of adaptation and integration of labor migrants in Russian society. Not all of them know Russian language, the culture and customs of the receiving country.

There are problems with health care, for example, if migrant – a woman’s time to give birth to child, she can only go out and fall. Otherwise she won’t be provided by medical assistance. It is possible to find a solution, if the country from which labor migrant came interested in it. For example, It is necessary to draw up the insurance when they leave the country.      

The issue of recording all migrants without visa in Russia have not solved yet. That is real problem for Federal Migration Service. And there is another problem. After every terrorist attack in Russia, many achievements of public organizations on the protection the labor migrants are reduced to nothing. The migrants began to be looked like enemies.  

Alas, the local Mass Media is more interested in migration in relation to the “hot fact”-criminals.  And it affects to the relation of local people to migrants. In comparison with Russia in our country xenophobia is not developed. Languages and looks are similar. Nevertheless, it is necessary to change relation to labor migrants; it is the demands of modern life.


Jamil Sadyhbekov acted as trainer at the seminar, which was conducted in February in Shymkent. Officials and non-governmental organizations of Almaty showed strong interest to the meeting. The director of crisis center “подруги” Nadejda Gladyr, the senior inspector of Migration Police of Department of Internal Affairs of Almaty Azat Zakhanov, Head Obstetrician – gynecologist of Health Department Nadejda Kobzar, Deputy Head of the Department of Employment and Social Program Aigul Kalykova.  But our citizens were not active at the training. Exception – Deputy Head of the Migration Police of Department of Internal Affairs of South Kazakhstan Sungat Tugelbaev, Head of the treatment and prevention work of Health Department Rose Zhaukimova, Deputy Head of Education of SKO Vladimir Doronin, President of the Association  of South Kazakhstan Affiliate “ГражданскийАльянс” Clara Alipova,  President of Legal Center for Women's Initiatives "Sana Sezim" Khadicha Abysheva, Chairman of Uzbek cultural center Ikram Hashimzhanov, Chairman of the Kyrgyz ethnic cultural center  of South Kazakhstan Baltash Saparbaiev. 

First of all listeners were explained, how to call the phenomenon related to labor migration. It was easy to sort out with special lexicon. Much more time took the theme communication of government officials with journalists. Officials usually try not to contact with press, request to comment any event simply remains unanswered. As a result, on newspaper pages and TV appear unreliable information.   And if the official representatives try to get away from the interview, so they have something to hide. At least, it is according to journalists. During the training, participants were given the opportunity to be in the role of journalists. It was to be hoped that it would work.

Rinat Khamidulin