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‘Prioritize Migrants Rights,’ UN Migration Agency Tells Government, Employers in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan - The Central Asian country of Kazakhstan is seeing a rapid rise in inward migration, and interested parties have been urged to ensure respect for migrants’ rights at an early stage, rather than be faced with an expensive fix further down the line.

The spike in migration into Kazakhstan is largely due to a booming economy fuelled by construction projects, mainly in the oil sector. Unfortunately, migrants are particularly vulnerable to labour and human rights abuses when they arrive in a new country, desperate for work regardless of the conditions.

To help ensure that migrants’ rights are protected in Kazakhstan, the USAID Dignity and Rights Project, implemented by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, organized a workshop on human rights and ethical employment recruitment this week in the city of Almaty.  Employers, academics, government representatives, trade unions, NGOs and UN agencies gathered to discuss migrant rights against the backdrop of the recent increase in inward migration.

Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel, IOM Head of Office in Almaty, noted that there are currently more than 10 million migrant workers in Central Asia, regular and irregular, of which close to two million are registered for employment in Kazakhstan.

“The majority of the movements in Central Asia are for work purposes and are mostly irregular,” she said. “The economic slowdown in Russia, together with controls preventing migrants trying to re-enter the country, has made Kazakhstan more attractive, particularly for semi-skilled workers.”

Some 300,000 Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz migrants arrived last year alone, and the numbers are predicted to increase.

“As Kazakhstan continues to grow as a destination country for migrant workers, we would encourage all stakeholders to develop policies and programmes that ensure not only that the economy and the labour market benefit from these flows, but also that the rights of these people are protected from the outset,” cautioned Michael Newson, IOM Regional Labour Migration and Development Specialist. “It becomes much more difficult and costly to correct mistakes in the future.”

Vassiliy Yuzhanin, IOM Regional Project Development Officer in Vienna, led a discussion on international law relating to human and labour rights of migrant workers and its application. States' regulatory frameworks were discussed, as well as the responsibility of employers to respect the rights of migrant workers.   

For further information, please contact Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel at IOM Almaty, Tel: +7 727 258 2240 and +7 727 258 1031, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:28
‘Prioritize Migrants Rights,’ UN Migration Agency Tells Government, Employers in Kazakhstan
‘Prioritize Migrants Rights,’ UN Migration Agency Tells Government, Employers in Kazakhstan
‘Prioritize Migrants Rights,’ UN Migration Agency Tells Government, Employers in Kazakhstan

IOM Labour Migration Specialist Michael Newsom speaking to Kazakh government civil society representatives in Almaty. Photo: IOM 2017

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