Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies

under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

The President's Address to the People of Kazakhstan

Growing welfare of kazakh citizens: increase in income and quality of life


Well-being of the population and accession of Kazakhstan to the list

of 30 developed countries are the long-term goals of our independent state.

The Issues concerning internal and external migration in the Republic of Kazakhstan: analysis of status and prognosis
Yerbulat Seilkhanov

LeadingResearch Fellow of KazISS under the President of RK, Candidate of Political Science

In recent decades, global migration processes have gained considerable scope. In a number of states touched upon by these processes in a serious degree, and is located the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The current state of the migration processes of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Migration processes are one of the central place in a number of problem, impacting a material effect – as socio-economic, as political situation in Kazakhstan. According to the official data, annual index of internal migration is made over 300 thousand people, and external is made over 1 mln. people. By estimation of UN, Kazakhstan is one of the first places in the world on the level of migration (in terms of 1000 the local population).

South-Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda, Zhanbyl, Almaty, North-Kazakhstan, Kostanay, Akmoly and Eastern-Kazakhstan regions are the basic of donors of internal migration. And the recipient are cities Almaty, Astana, and also Atyrau and Mangystau regions.

As in external migration – major stream of arriving is divided between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. However in 2008 allowed by the Government of RK the number of drawing foreign labor was made 1.5% from actively economical population of Kazakhstan, or 150 thousand people. Allowance the fact that external migration balance in 2008 was made total 1117 people, coming to light that illegal labor migration in Kazakhstan exceeds 800 thousand people.

All Kazakhstan regions are the recipients of external migration, but the most attractiveness possess Almaty, Astana, South-Kazakhstan, Zhambyl, Atyrau, Mangystau and Eastern Kazakhstan regions.

According to the data from 2007 are Uzbekistan (47%), Russia (20%) and China (11%)* and over 20% from non-CIS states (Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia, Turkey). And official arriving to Kazakhstan for permanent place of residence were ethnic immigrant, i.e. oralmans. In spite of the allocation program of oralman to all region of Kazakhstan (generally to the north region), nevertheless as a result of secondary internal migration oralmans seek to resettle in Almaty and Astana, and also South-Kazakhstan, Almaty, Mangystau and Eastern-Kazakhstan regions, and Russian's oralmans in frontier regions of Russia.

Emigration from Kazakhstan was in the direction of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Germany. Mostly, an emigration is exposed the north and central regions of Kazakhstan, having more percent of European ethnic component in demographic structure of population.

The key reason of internal migration, in the line of “village – town”, basically socio-economic – unemployment in the village, low wages of villagers, weakness of medical-education and information-cultural infrastructure, domestic problems (lack of clean water, balanced range of food, heating problems (high price for gas, coal and firewood), environmental problems and etc.

The key reason of external migration (except for labor) are desire to return to the historic land; to improve the material welfare; possible of self-realization; problems of interethnic and language character.

Labor migration, including illegal, connected with difficult socio-economic situation at the place of outcome of labor migrants.

Migration mobility has three categories – labor, educational and permanent place of residence – it has its plus and minus.

In regard to labor migration from Kazakhstan, positive sides are:

• decreasing of pressure in the domestic market of the labor force;

• influx of non-budgetary financial means, additional financial support of labor migrant family in Kazakhstan, load reduction of social program of budget (unemployment assistance, and other social benefits);

• preservation (advanced) vocational training of workers, abroad in his speciality, development of new specialties*, or receiving of primary work qualification.

Negative consequences of the processes are:

• deterioration of demographic balance at the place of outcome (mainly, the labor migrants are males);

• erosion of skilled labor, deficit of workers and so, degeneration of quality of domestic market in labor force;

• indirect support of emigration climate;

• losses due to education of labor migrant, shortfall of pension deduction and taxes from labor activities.

Positive sides of educational migration from Kazakhstan consist in:

• opportunities for better education and training in specialties, absent in the educational institutions of Kazakhstan;

• improvements in quality of labor force market, increase of his specialization, giving employers of Kazakhstan a greater choice;

• expansion of formal and informal connection with economical subjects, where migrants trained;

Negative sides are:

• The presence of risk non-return of educational migrants, remaining to work in the country, where they got education;

• Preferred orientation of educational migrants for following-up work in foreign companies, and not in national companies;

• Unsuitability of knowledge and skills, obtained educational migrants, to the realias and requirements of Kazakhstan economy;

In regard to emigration from Kazakhstan positive sides, except for decreasing the pressure on the labor force and housing market does not exist. Negative sides are: reduction of demographic and labor potential of the republic*, loss of means, spent to get education by migrants: output abroad of retirement savings: decline of welfare and stable image to living in the country.

Labor immigration in Kazakhstan has also its positive and negative moments. To positive result of such process may show:

• filling labor niche, in which Kazakhstanis refuse to go;

• filling job opening, skilled, for some reason or another absent in Kazakhstan (mostly foreign skilled professionals working on contracts);

• fulfillment shortage of workers in the region at a deficit of labor force**;

• budget revenue of additional tax (from legal labor migrants).

At the same time, labor immigration (mainly, illegal) is determined serous problems, consisting in:

• rendering of strong pressure in domestic labor force** and degeneration of its quality structure***;

• disbalance of pricing environment on the labor market, is expressed in reduction labor value (mainly, unqualified labor force), that in turn, to prevent interested in local labor force in job placement;

• growth of shadow economy*** ;

• outflow from RK is currency (money transfer of migrants at home or abroad);

• growth of social strain (in interethnic line, as a result of competition of working places and so on);

• growth of marginal components in population of towns;

• increase of pressure to the housing market (in particular, rental housing);

• increase in uncounted load on budget and spheres of life support in regional-recipients;

• potential growth of criminogenic threaten.

Educational migration concerning Kazakhstan, we can say that the level is not high and therefore ignore the potential gains and losses.

Immigration for permanent place of residence in Kazakhstan, wherein the component of oralmans is predominated, it has dual character as well.

On the one hand, growing of the republic demographic potential, improving the balance of age (because of the prevalence of large families among oralmans*), is being reconstruction of the historical justice in regard to enforced Kazakh-refugees. On the other hand, this process brings a range of problems:

• growing load up on budget – in connection with necessity of placement, adaptation and employment of the oralmans;

• oralmans have a patriarchal way of life, strengthen the process of Islamisation;

• as a result of repeated (as a rule, irregular) migration of oralmans are growing the social load on cities and region-recipients;

• overestimated social expectation of oralmans is provoked their conflict with authorities (for example, self-trapping of earths, submission of defined privilege and so on);

• difference of mentality and way of life of oralmans and local population, lead to erosion of key identity structure, allowing to keep such basis estimation as tolerance, solidarity, confidence, and also to transformation of these structures to uncounted trend.

Internal migration mobility also can be considered from two positions. To positive moment can be consisted as it helps to dispose of redundancy in labor-surplus regions and fill the deficit regions by the labor force. And also positive moment has the factor of population interfusion, reduction threatening of regional separatism. Negative consequences of internal migration are: reduction of village's labor potential; growth of social strain in regions; growth of loading upon regional budgets; growth of criminogenity in the regions; additional load on life support system; expensive of foods and housings.

The main factor of the risk and threat of stability are spontaneity and illegality, leading to deregulation of the process.

Mid-term prospects of migration situation in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan related to decline in production and economical instability, do not allow to forecast migration tempo from this country. Macroeconomic indices of Uzbekistan are more reassuring and by official statistics has growth of GDP rate (on 8.5%). However this position can not changed the situation related to unemployment and leaving the country to search jobs in other country.

To hope for migration potential of this country is situation, concerning ecological problems of Aral Sea of Uzbekistan side (Karakalpakia) and over-population of Ferghana Valley of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The recipient-countries of the labor migration from Central Asia are Kazakhstan and Russia, economical situation in 2009 and including in 2010 to be difficult. At the “G8” countries summit in London in 2009, it was noted that global economical crisis still remains and potential relapse.

The experts do not exclude the repeating of the crisis, and as expected, it will be industry production, where will fall of volume, closing down and stoppage of a number of enterprises, including in Kazakhstan. By the estimation of the Minister of Finance of RF A. Kudrin such situation may be in Russia near autumn.

Such course of development can lead to decreasing the unemployment, falling incomes, increasing social polarization and social tensions. Potential measures of Russian Federation can include: quota restriction of legal migration, tightening of control for illegal migrants, which in turn will seek working place at another country, in particular in Kazakhstan. Taking work sites declining in our country into account, inflow of additional labor migration to Kazakhstan is unacceptable.

In the mid term internal migration tempo remains high, because agricultural sector will not turn over, to strengthening of population on the village.

The main negative factor may include: high rates of banking credit, price for greases and spare parts for agricultural equipment, the issues concerning crop insurance, high prices (or non-existent) access to agricultural machinery (purchase, rent, lease), the weakness of agronomy and veterinary infrastructure, the pressure dealers to smallholder agricultural producers, the predominance in the soil-land structure of zones of risky agriculture, competition of cheap foreign agricultural products, weak infrastructure, processing and storage of agricultural products, increases in land hunger (mostly in the South) in the conditions of small-scale production of most rural residents. All this leads to low profitability of domestic agriculture, the low wages of its employees, lack of sufficient own funds to improve infrastructure of village life and, consequently, to preserve its migration potential.

In all likelihood, continue and regional socio-economic imbalances that will affect the internal migration flows. Stable and high rates of migration can be predicted for the economically depressed and environmentally disadvantaged areas, it is likely to increase migration from small towns, which often threatens to stop forming enterprises or serious reduction of their personnel.

Center of attraction for migrants (internal and external) will Almaty, Astana, Atyrau and Mangistau region in addition, for external migrants from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to maintain the attractiveness of South Kazakhstan and Almaty region, and for immigrants from China - Almaty and East Kazakhstan region.

Total estimated volume of external migration is projected at 1-1,1 million people inside - 310-330 thousand people.

In this regard, long-term strategic objectives of the state migration policy are: to overcome the spontaneous nature of migration, reducing its volume, suppression of illegal migration, creating a system to manage migration flows for development of Kazakhstan's state and society.



– www.stat.kz.

1 Population. Migration of population // the Agency of Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan – www.stat.kz.

The article is published in information-analytical journal "Analytic" №4-2009