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Monitoring of the project “Providing legal aid to labor migrants” From 01.11.2008 to 31.05.2009.

   This project focused on improving the awareness of labor migrants about their legal identity. In order to increase the awareness of labor migrants of professional and legal issues and to raise public awareness to their problems, a booklet, “Migrants and their rights!” was created. The booklet contains information on the rules of entry and residence in the Republic of Kazakhstan, of the possible consequences of illegal employment, and the location of the Center which provides legal assistance to labor migrants.
   During the period from November 1, 2008 to May 31, 2009, regional and city newspapers published 12 news articles on the center and on the labor migrants. They were also covered on regional and national television.
   To date, in the Sairam and Saryagash areas of the South Kazakhstan Region there are centers operating to provide information, support, legal assistance, and emergency help to labor migrants in crisis situations. The staff of these centers distributed the “Pocket guide for labor migrants”, the booklet “Migrants and their rights!”, and stickers. It should be noted that in these areas is the largest number of seasonal labor migrants, who harvest vegetables, cotton, and melons.
   In the Saryagash and Sairam centers legal aid was provide for labor migrants for the period from November 1, 2008 to May 30, 2009. The centers received 570 appeals, 485 of which were directly from the migrants themselves. They also received 85 applications from citizens of Kazakhstan, among who were relatives, friends, employers of migrant workers, law enforcement officials, and NGO partners.
   From November 1, 2008 to May 30, 2009, NGO “Sana Sezim” received 1595 appeals (1274 - from men and 221 – from women). Of these, 332 concerned the treatment of employers and issues relating to housing problems in the territory of Kazakhstan, 452 concerned the rules of registration, 209 concerned citizenship and residence permits, 131 concerned issues relating to the employer (not receiving salaries, collection of passports, etc.), 43 concerned the detention and extortion by the police or customs and border services, 13 concerned tertiary and secondary education, 43 concerned assistance to medical institutions, 16 concerned opening accounts at banks and money transfers, 13 concerned labor and sexual exploitation, 76 concerned the loss and restoration of documents, 63 concerned the treatment of labor contracts, 10 concerned clarifying the contact details of embassies or matters relating to conjugal relations (Marriage and Divorce and alimony between citizens of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan), 45 concerned the IOM in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, 9 concerned questions about financial assistance, and 138 concerned activities of the organization regarding providing shelter.
   The average age of migrant workers seeking help is 33 years. Men make up 86.2%, women accounted for 13.8%.
   According to statistics, of the appeals to NGO “Sana Sezim” 79.8% were from citizens of Uzbekistan, 11.5% from citizens of Kazakhstan, 2.8 were from Tajikistan, 2.5% were from Kyrgyzstan, 2.5% were from the Russian Federation, and .9% were from other countries. Those who made appeals were also among relatives, friends, employers, partner NGOs, and law enforcement.

   Of those labor migrants who came from Uzbekistan, they originated from different areas:

  • Namangan region - 175 people;
  • Kashkadarya region - 167 people;
  • Tashkent region - 150 people;
  • Samarkand region - 148 people;
  • Bukhara region - 139 people;
  • Syrdarya region - 114 people;
  • Karakalpakstan region - 103 people;
  • Khorezm region - 103 people;
  • Surkhandarya region - 91 people;
  • Andijan region -37 people;
  • Novoinskoy area - 14 people;
  • Ferghana Oblast - 12 people;
  • Djizak area - 10 people.

   Labor migrants who contacted the Legal Center were engages in various spheres of employment:

   The average length of stay in the Republic of Kazakhstan of labor migrants is from 2 to 8 months, with an average of 4.5 months.
   The main problems that labor migrants are treated for at the centers are registration with the migration police, the restoration of lost documents, problems with employers and law enforcement agencies, as well as labor and sexual exploitation. Most labor migrants stated that have received only part of the promised money, and in some cases, received only their passport from their employer as the sole compensation for the hard work. 16 appeals were filed with the Department of Internal Affairs SKO regarding fraud, theft, and exploitation of labor migrants.
   Appeals received are monitored by category (complaints, advice, common interest), the typology of violations of the rights taken in the context of categories of migrants, as well as the involvement of local structures and organizations. The methods used to disseminate information are electronic mail, web-site:, and the local media.
   To a certain extent, the situation in the labor market contributes to the Kazakhstani migration of labor from abroad. Interstate migration ties remain very close between Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan.
   However, at present the bulk of labor migrants in Kazakhstan are predominantly of an illegal nature (fully legalized migrants in Kazakhstan are generally only highly paid foreign experts in key sectors of the economy), which is a core problem from the standpoint of national security.
   The main reason for the growth of illegal migration from Central Asia in Kazakhstan is the ever-increasing gap in economic development between Kazakhstan and other republics in the region. The labor market in Kazakhstan for a number of objective reasons has become very attractive for the citizens of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.
   Generally illegal migrants entering Kazakhstan from other Central Asian republics can be divided into three groups. The first group includes nationals of neighboring states, which come by rail or road in the morning bringing fruits and vegetables to border markets, and in the evening return home.
   The second group consists of seasonal workers. They consist for the most part builders, shepherds, cattle grazers, harvesters, etc…
   The third group consists of foreign nationals who reside for long periods of time in the territory for business.
   The first two groups consist of employees who are totally dependent on the employer; the latter are self-employed foreign workers who occupy the niche of domestic entrepreneurs.
   The main legal acts regulating relations in this sphere, are the laws “On the migration of the population”, “On the Legal Status of Aliens” regarding rules of entry and stay of foreign nationals, as approved by the Decree of the Government dated January 28, 2000, № 136.
   They define the rights and duties of foreign nationals, and the functions of public authorities for the control of migration in the country.
   In the field of migration Kazakhstan has entered into a number of international agreements. As part of the Commonwealth of Independent States on a multilateral basis, it holds a sufficiently strong legal base.
   The concept of migration policy (September 5, 2000), and the Industrial Program Migration Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2001-2010 (29 October 2001) identify priorities and mechanisms for the resolution of demographic and migration problems in the long-run (2005-2010).
   Kazakhstan seeks to be a most-favored nation to foreigners entering the country. There is constant work on the liberalization of the visa and registration procedures to bring them to world standards.
   The Joint Order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (№ 08 - 1 / 81 - 2002) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (№ 805 - 2002), “On Amending the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan” (№ 595, May 29, 2002), facilitates the procedure of obtaining Kazakh visas for citizens of 58 economically developed and politically stable states. Citizens of 37 countries can be issued visas without the invitation of Kazakhstan and only on the basis of personal statements.
   It is not by chance from year to year there is an increasing number of visiting foreign nationals to Kazakhstan.
   Increased migration has led to considerably more effective control in this area.
   Positive results were revealed in the 2003 system of migration cards. Statistical records revealed that aliens were provided with measures for their timely registration and departure. Now you can register foreign nationals in the foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with the processing of visas, as well as in international airports at the entrance to Kazakhstan. In addition, registration is performed in a number of hotels and check-points on roads, and at railway stations.
   Together with relevant government authorities in the country a unified information system controls over the entry-exit and stay of foreigners in the Republic of Kazakhstan has been implemented.
   The implementation of this system is done in phases and is scheduled to be completed by 2010. Connecting to the database of relevant public bodies as users within their own competence will enable interested users to access information about the residence of citizens.
   To improve the legislation on migration the law “On the migration of the population” was amended, the prohibition of foreigners temporarily residing in Kazakhstan and engaging in entrepreneurial activities without forming a legal entity; expelling from Kazakhstan foreigners and barring them from entry into the country within five years; several categories of aliens exempted from the need to confirm the ability to pay upon leaving Kazakhstan for permanent residence; an increase in the responsibility of host parties inviting foreign nationals, and legal persons who previously had failed to comply with established rules of the guest stay, will not be considered.
   In order to create an open and accessible system of effective communication for foreign citizens, the rules of entry and residence for stateless persons in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as all changes in migration legislation, are available on the website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
   The immigration police established modern operating rooms, operate on the principle of “single window” to receive and care for foreigners. In order to create the most favorable conditions for the registration of aliens it also takes place in hotels with appropriate technical conditions. As a result of these measures it is ensured that there will be transparency of the migration procedures and reduce the possibility of corruption.
   Liaisons have been made with international organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration (MOM) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
   Interaction of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, with law enforcement agencies of CIS countries at the bilateral level, is regulated by a number of international treaties and agreements and on the following key areas: combating crimes against life, health, freedom, dignity, and property, fighting against organized crime and corruption, banditry, terrorism and international crime; combating illegal migration and trafficking in persons, illegal operations with weapons, ammunition, explosives, poisonous substances and radioactive materials, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
   The cooperation of the internal affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan with law enforcement authorities of border regions is based on bilateral agreements. The agreement on border cooperation is signed between the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
   An important step in the development and strengthening of border relations is the conclusion of bilateral intergovernmental agreements on the procedures for crossing the state border of the inhabitants of border areas.
   All local departments of internal affairs are involved, including that of transport operating divisions to combat illegal migration and special units that are serving on the bypass roads and consist of mobile units in passenger trains, etc…
   In the territory of Kazakhstan, foreigners entering with immigration law violations, showing ignorance of the rules of entry, stay, transit and departure from the country, are illegal immigrants; however, current legislation allows these foreigners to lawfully get their migration card to transit to Russia or stay in Kazakhstan.
   In general, the project helped raise awareness of the Kazakh legislation for labor migrants, and will help them not only to find decent work and a source of income for their family, but will also allow them to work without violating the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.