KAZAKHSTAN TODAY: MIGRATION—TRENDS AND REGULATION APPROACHES
Sergey Ryazantsev, D.Sc. (Econ.), Professor, Leading Russian Expert in Demography and Population Migration, Institute of Socio-Political Research, Russian Academy of Sciences; Professor at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) (Moscow, Russian Federation)
Today, migration plays an important role in Kazakhstan’s social, economic, and demographic development. On the one hand, Kazakhstan is a successfully developing state that attracts guest workers from its Central Asian neighbors and China. On the other, drawn into the process of global migration, it loses a fairly large number of its own citizens who move abroad in search of employment. There is a migration subsystem between Kazakhstan and the Central Asian countries of large-scale migrant flows and sustainable geographic preferences. The big difference in the size of their populations and economies means that Kazakhstan and Russia can only be compared on the strength of relative figures. Both sides are migrant recipients. In 2007, Russian researcher Irina Ivakhnyuk showed that Russia received 28 times more guest workers than Kazakhstan and lost 108 times more of its own citizens who went abroad in search of employment. My calculations for the year 2013 revealed a very different correlation: Russia outstripped Kazakhstan 19-fold in terms of labor emigration and 54-fold in terms of labor immigration. On the whole, the Republic of Kazakhstan receives more labor immigrants than it loses workforce as émigrés. According to the calculations, the number of labor immigrants is 98-fold higher than the number of labor émigrés. Some experts think that there is a system of irrational use of workforce in Kazakhstan’s economy: local workers are squeezed out by low wages to be replaced with the even cheaper labor of guest workers. This can partly be accepted; yet the fact that Kazakhstan allows labor immigrants in large numbers and invites considerable quantities of work migrants from abroad means that it is involved in the international labor market.
Keywords: immigration, emigration, Kazakhstan, regulation of migrants, migration policies.