Facilitating Safe and Skilled Migration on the Central Asia - Russian Federation/Kazakhstan Corridor
Labor migration to Russia and Kazakhstan constitute a lifeline for millions of families in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, but its poor regulation negatively affects its development benefits. The program aims at enhancing labor mobility governance along the Central Asia-Russia/Kazakhstan migration corridor. By facilitating pre-departure orientation and skills-matching interventions for prospective migrants, it will foster migrant workers’ protection and enhancethe livelihood perspectives for the poorest in Central Asia. The program builds on Swiss migration expertise and contributes to the strategic link between international cooperation and migration policy.
- International Organisation for Migration
|Mobility between Central Asia (CA) and the Russian Federation (RF) and towards Kazakhstan (KAZ) represents one of the largest and most important labor migration corridors in the world, with nearly 4 million workers from CA working formally in the RF (informal figures are much higher). In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptions it caused, labor mobility will continue to be critical to the economic development of the Central Asian countries, as it contributes to employment opportunities and poverty reduction. Given visa-free movement between CA countries, the RF and KAZ, as well as free labor mobility among Eurasian Economic Union Member States, and the longstanding historical mobility in the region, the vast majority of migration in the corridor occurs in an unstructured manner. Prospective migrants mostly use social networks to plan their migration and seek employment upon arrival at destination. Such types of mobility create challenges for countries of origin and destination, as well as for prospective migrants and employers. They include a lack of skills matching and a resulting low productivity of employees, little or no investments in the upskilling of migrants (as they are seen as a “cheap” labor force), unaddressed exploitative practices due to widespread informality, and enhanced risks of the migrants’ enrolment by extremist groups.
|To enhance the governance of labor mobility on the Central Asia – Russian Federation corridor and towards Kazakhstan for the benefit of Central Asian migrant workers & their families, as well as for countries of origin more broadly.
(Prospective) migrant workers, their families and migrant returnees will benefit from
(i) access to skills training and improved job opportunities in RF and KAZ; (ii) improved preparedness training and capacity to protect themselves from potential abuse and; (iii) improved training and tools to facilitate longer-term planning in regards to skills development, savings and remittances.
At least 49’000 migrant workers will benefit from recruitment services enabling them to access safe and decent job opportunities; at least 1’500 migrant workers will have improved their employability and at least 1’200 will have found a new or better employment.
At least 29’000 prospective migrant workers will have accessed government-run pre-departure orientation programs and 4’000 will have received support services in countries of destination.
At least 20’000 migrant workers and remittance recipients have been sensitized and trained on remittance management and financial inclusion.
1. Governments and other stakeholders develop coordination mechanisms to identify labor migration challenges and regularly adapt and improve labor migration policy and processes in the region.
2. Recruitment agencies and vocational training centres improve services to better anticipate and respond to labor market needs as well as to the needs and priorities of men and women prospective migrant workers.
3. Employers in targeted sectors adjust their recruitment practices to engage in managed ethical labor migration programmes in Central Asia.
4. Prospective migrant workers are better informed and prepared to protect themselves in recruitment and migration.
5. Migrants and their families achieve greater financial inclusion and uptake of financial services to sustainably improve their livelihoods.
- Regional and national coordination mechanisms established gathering governments and key stakeholders involved in labour migration;
- Key performance indicators and monitoring systems established for recruitment agencies in countries of origin to effectively measure performance, incl. on skills-matching and orientation;
- Employers in targeted sectors in countries of destination have increased awareness of the availability, value and how to access managed recruitment services;
- Pre-departure orientation for women and men prospective migrants is strengthened, facilitating access to social protection at destination and fostering financial inclusion for migrants and their family members.
- Remittance and financial products tailored to the migrants’ needs are developed and piloted.
- The know-how of Switzerland and its partners (safe labor migration, decent work, vocational training, financial inclusion) is leveraged throughout the program.
Results from previous phases:
- The SDC-financed Covid-19 response initiative in the region (2019-21) provided updated information on migration trends and profiles, including gender-specific vulnerabilities, as well as research on financial inclusion / remittances (supply & demand side).
· While remittances significantly contribute to poverty reduction in Central Asia, low rates of financial inclusion and weak financial literacy limit the potential value of remittances to contribute to livelihood planning and economic investments for migrants and their families.
Complementary preparatory works during the inception included the following:
- Employer survey: occupation opportunities identified where managed recruitment would add value to the prospective employers and migrants
- Survey of prospective migrant workers and returnees, informing the training design and recruitment structures
- Consultative regional meetings with identified stakeholders from government, civil society and the private sector in order to fine-tune the project’s design and to confirm stakeholders’ buy-in and ownership.
|Directorate/federal office responsible
United Nations Organization (UNO)
International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
|Coordination with other projects and actors
The program builds on and is coordinated with the following GPMD programs and expertise:
· Labour migration programs in South-Asia & Gulf States, IRIS, FAIRFinancial inclusion programs in cooperation with UNCDF; Swiss Call to Action on Remittances in Crisis
It will also leverage synergies with Swiss-supported programs in the Central Asia Region, in line with the strategic priorities set in the Regional Cooperation Program for Central Asia 2002-2025:
SDC VET Program in Uzbekistan; relevant Swiss-supported programs in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, mainly under the “Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development” domain.
IOM initiatives that complement this regional Program in the CA countries.
|Current phase Swiss budget CHF 7’151’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 2’042’839 Total project since first phase Swiss budget CHF 151’000 Budget inclusive project partner CHF 14’000’000