Legal and illegal labor migration: case of Kyrgyzstan
Transition to the market economy since Kyrgyzstan’s independence in 1991 led to various employment challenges. One of it is labor migration. Unprecedented level of labor migration was reached during the last years. According to various experts’ evaluation, number of Kyrgyzstan labor migrants is reaching 0,5 million people. Most of Kyrgyzstan migrants are concentrated in two countries – Russia and Kazakhstan, as these two countries are strategic targets rich with employment opportunities. Overwhelming migrants are illegal labor migrants, and this led to their social vulnerability and lack of legal protection for them, Xenophobia and racism in Russia and also created mass of problems for recipient countries.
National labor market of the Central Asian region has common features: low level of employment of the economically active population, unemployment, ongoing instability on the labor markets, changes in the employment structures, growth of non-state sector of economy and limited opportunities for labor in it, losses in labor values, decrease of the life level for the majority of population, lack of joint system of the social protection of labor migrants, lack of coherence of the legislation in the area labor relations.
Women and migration women comprise majority of the state population (52,2%). Women are the special category of migrant workers who suffer from their gender in addition to the general factors. They are vulnerable to various forms of violence against women, deceit and sexual harassment.
Reasons for labor migration include: poverty, unemployment, and demography. The process stimulated by joint labor market in CIS.
Role and input of labor migrants is reduction of poverty. It is labor migrant who serve as a main source of the migrants’ family budget, approximately to more then half of the country’s population. Financial resources that come from labor migrant to their families comprised in 2005 about 700 million of US$, therefore migrants remittances are huge investment resource for our country.
According to the data there are about 5 thousand of Kyrgyzstan citizens in Kazakhstan with official permanent registration, according to experts in 2005 number of illegal labor migrant reached 300 thousand people, who are mainly citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
In 2006 Republic of Kazakhstan provided quotas for foreign labor migrant in the number of less than one percent (0,7 %) to the economically active population.
Alongside with this there was a work done for provision of legal employment of Kyrgyzstan citizens abroad, such as in Korea, Russia, Belorussia, Canada. There a continuous dialogue on getting labor quotas. New emerging issues require new policies. Social policy is in fact as mirror reflecting deeply grounded social expectations of people. Various signed Interstate agreements are new regulatory documents.