Challenges of modernity and migration policy of the state: global trends and Kazakhstan’s reality


Object: To consider the current issues of regulation of migration processes in the world – in general and in particular – in the conditions of Kazakhstan.

Methods: System analysis, comparative evaluation, methods of empirical research of cases from media materials.

Results: The impact of quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic on migration processes in the countries of the world and Kazakhstan’s practice is analyzed. The problems with unregulated migration in Kazakhstan are considered, taking into account the tightening of conditions for leaving the country and entering the country due to quarantine and the state policy towards leveling the risks of deterioration of the situation of immigrants in the country. Migration policy measures aimed at stimulating ethnic repatriation to Kazakhstan and supporting the Kandas for their successful and relatively rapid adaptation to a new place, measures to regulate internal and external migration in the educational and labor spheres are presented. The main tasks of Kazakhstan’s migration policy at the present stage are defined. Considering the identified challenges and risks, emphasis is placed on the implementation of a comprehensive coordinated migration policy with the inclusion of measures for other types of policies.

Conclusions: Migration regulatory authorities in Kazakhstan are currently facing the need to solve many problems, which, on the one hand, are caused by the impact of global factors (the coronavirus pandemic and political events in the world), macro-regional factors (the policy of neighboring countries on migration regulation), and the effect of internal factors (uneven development of the country’s regions, migration sentiment in Kazakh society, the situation on local labor markets). To build an effective response, coordinated actions are needed by all parties to the migration regulation process – central government agencies, local executive bodies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, various professional associations, intermediary structures (law firms, private employment agencies, recruiting agencies, educational centers, travel agents). The article presents examples of response measures and measures that help migrants cope with the negative consequences of quarantine restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, get support for adaptation and integration in the host society, protect the rights and ensure safety for all members of the migrant family, get help to return to their homeland.


The migration movement around the world has undergone significant changes in recent years due to the COVID–19 pandemic. The quarantine restrictions have caused a sharp decrease in the flows of labor and educational migration and have expanded the range of problems of adaptation and integration of previously arrived migrants, whose social vulnerability has increased due to a decline in demand in the labor market and a decrease in the income level of the population as a whole. The economy of many countries has suffered significantly due to the suspension and decrease in the flows of foreign tourists. Political events also have a great impact, e.g., an increase in refugee flows due to events in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

*Corresponding author. E-mail address:

Under such conditions, the migration policy of countries should adapt to emerging challenges and respond in a timely manner to new tasks to regulate internal and external movements of their citizens and the situation of immigrants on their territory. Kazakhstan did not stay away from these changes. The flows of external and internal migration during the first and second waves of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 were strictly regulated by sanitary and epidemiological standards. Restrictions on movement between cities were observed – there were sanitary posts on the roads, between countries – a ban was imposed on entry from countries with unfavorable epidemiological status or restricted entry with mandatory quarantine into the country and other measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. At the same time, as the waves of the pandemic were realized, quarantine restrictions were announced throughout the territory of Kazakhstan, with a division of their severity for the “red” zone (the risk of infection is high) and for the green “zone” (quarantine relief due to a reduction in the risk of infection).

The response to the coronavirus pandemic is mainly related to tactical short-term policies in the field of regulating migration flows within and outside the country.

The strategic goals and objectives of the state’s migration policy are laid down in long-term documents. In Kazakhstan, in recent years, migration regulation measures have been implemented as part of the implementation of the Concept of Migration Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2017–2021. The state policy in the field of migration goes in three directions: 1) regulation of labor immigration to Kazakhstan; 2) regulation of issues of attracting and integrating ethnic migrants into the country; 3) issues of regulating internal migration: attracting migrants to the northern, north-eastern, and central regions from the southern regions of the country, the role of migration in urbanization, adaptation of internal migrants in the regions of arrival. Currently, a draft Concept of Migration Policy for 2022–2026 has been prepared and is under consideration by the legislative bodies, which focuses on the regulation of migration, considering the need to create conditions for the development of human capital in the country.

Examining the impact of challenges of a different nature on migration processes within Kazakhstan and abroad – with the participation of Kazakhstani citizens, and the assessment of the response measures of migration policy, we put forward following hypothesis: Every country in modern realities, when developing its migration policy measures, faces challenges of a local nature caused by the processes of globalization and integration arising the specifics of its economic development, its political transformations, the nature of interethnic relations within countries and differentiation of demographic reproduction models within the country. Global challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the spread of ICT technologies in all spheres of life, etc., also influence the formation of the state’s migration policy and the adjustment of its directions, tools, and regulatory priorities. At the same time, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan needs to consider all these risks of different levels when preparing and implementing migration policy measures, conduct multilateral regulation and solving emerging migration problems based on the implementation of an integrated approach (combining migration policy measures and measures of other types of state policy).

Literature review

To assess the response of migration policy in Kazakhstan to short-term risks and long-term challenges, we will review the issues presented in articles by scientists from other countries and in publications of international organizations on global trends in migration regulation and migration policies of various countries of the world.

Adger et al. (2019) analyze the impact of migration processes on the possibilities of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Also, they emphasize that migration should be directly included in the planning of sustainable development of the countries of the world, as it is the main driving force of global demographic well-being. Flows of ideas, remittances, and social capital from migration play a central role in transforming economic, as well as social and political life in the places of origin and arrival of migrants. Within the SDGs, migration is recognized as a “multidimensional reality” that is “of great importance for the development of countries of origin, transit and destination”. In the 2030 Agenda, Article 29 recognizes migrants as being able to make a “positive contribution to inclusive growth”. In Goal 10 of the SDGs “Income Inequality”, the removal of barriers to migrant remittances is stated as one of the measures to overcome inequality. At the same time, the SDGs call for protecting the rights of migrants on the territory of the countries. Goal 11 considers the impact of migration on urban development, mainly negative (excessive pressure on urban infrastructure, risks of the growth of suburbs, slums). However, the article calls for considering new indicators to assess the impact of migration on cities, for example, the number of migrants employed in the informal sector of cities (as an indicator of the risks of discrimination and instability of the criminal situation).

Gary Freeman and Alan Kessler consider economic ideas drawn from the theories of labor markets, international trade and public finance, and link them with political analysis, emphasizing the role of states, institutions, and interest groups (Freeman & Kessler, 2008). They concluded that if the state is a unitary entity pursuing national interests, it will promote open immigration to maximize the total economic and net fiscal profit and consider the relevant problems of the state, which may increase under the threat of immigration.

Migration has a strong economic impact on receiving and sending countries (Epstein, 2012). Since individuals and groups do not receive the same benefits from migration, interest groups arise that protect and take care of their narrow personal interests and compete for the rent created by migration. Narrow vested interests may be present not only among groups in society but also among ruling politicians and civil servants. Epstein examined how important political culture is for determining policy and how interest groups influence the choice of public policy priorities through the lobbying process. As a result of the significant impact of migration on the economy, migration policy is an important issue in the formation of election platforms around the world. On the one hand, the owners of capital want to increase the number of migrant workers to increase profits. On the other hand, the local population may want to increase migration in certain markets, while in other markets they want to reduce migration so as not to reduce wages (to prevent immigrants from dumping wages) or the number of available jobs. Assimilation of migrants can be costly for local residents as taxpayers. At the same time, it can also be costly for migrants who would like to preserve their cultural heritage and their customs. Therefore, politicians have to consider diverse interests in society and decide whose interests they will promote in their policies and how they will set their priorities.

The 2020 report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) examines the issues of interaction between governments to control migration processes. According to this report, destination countries are increasingly cooperating with countries of origin and transit, which allows them to effectively control their borders and deter illegal migrants (IOM, 2020). Also in 2021, an IOM report was released on the topic: “Kazakhstan: a study of the socio-economic consequences of COVID–19 for stranded migrants”, which addressed topical issues of support for immigrants who could not leave the country under quarantine restrictions.

The foreign researchers also pay attention to the impact of new technologies on migration. Mobile technologies can serve as a service for migrants in determining migration routes, destinations and facilitate the financing of assistance to illegal migration (refugees, temporarily displaced persons). In addition, owing to technology, access to information about countries where migration is supported and conditions for the reception of refugees are created. There are examples of the use of new technologies to support migrants: These are robot lawyers based on artificial intelligence offering legal assistance to migrants and refugees; the nonprofit organization REFUNITE (with more than 1 million registered users), which helps refugees find missing family members using a mobile phone or computer; digital communication, which provides migrants and refugees with new opportunities to gain access to training or education through online learning platforms and massive open online courses or to services provided virtually by NGOs, international organizations or governments (Ziebarth & Bither, 2020).

Biometric identifiers, crowdmapping and crowdsourcing, money transfers via mobile phones, translation applications, online educational programs, crisis forecasting systems, machine learning, blockchain applications and trends in data collection and management can influence how international organizations and civil society groups will respond to situations with refugees and migrant workers (help to identify, monitor, strengthen the targeting of support).

The tasks of migration policy in the country should be adjusted considering changes in the factors of external and internal migration, as well as taking into account the possible consequences of the changes taking place (Mussina et al., 2022).

In addition, a number of authors reveal certain socio-economic aspects of migration. Anderson studied the role of migrant workers in shaping employment in basic services (Anderson et al., 2021). There are also studies on the impact and consequences of the pandemic on migration processes (Sharma & Kandpal, 2021; Shimizudani & Yamada, 2021; Anoop, 2020). Besides, there are plenty of works about Kazakhstan’s migration processes and policy (Bodaukhan et al., 2020; Dufhues et al., 2021; Matzhanova et al., 2021; Bokayev et al., 2020).


Methods of systematization of information, work with sources, methods of studying cause-and-effect relationships were used.

When analyzing the regulation of the migration situation in the country, the regulatory framework of migration policy and program documents containing various methods and tools of the state’s influence on migration flows in the country and regional sections were studied.


Kazakhstan does not remain aloof from the global agenda, although there are some differences, both in the depth and in the severity of problems that require direct or indirect state intervention to solve. One of such global problems is measures to combat the COVID–19 pandemic incorporating quarantine restrictions on the movement of people both within States and between States. Migration flows in these conditions, on the one hand, decrease (especially the flows of labor and educational migration), and accordingly the volume of regulated migration decreases, the pressure on the migration services of countries, on the systems that were responsible for the adaptation of migrants in the first time decreases. At the same time, problems of a different nature arise: during the pandemic, in many receiving migrants and transit countries, immigrants who, on the one hand, lost their jobs (due to the pandemic and quarantine), and on the other hand, do not have the opportunity to return to their homeland (due to material difficulties and because of customs and sanitary posts), are “stuck”. In these conditions, the dumping of wages and the development of shadow employment at the expense of migrants increases, the problem of their return to their homeland and their maintenance before return arises. Migrants who have returned to their native places are replenishing the army of unemployed in their country, and the situation is also aggravated by a decrease in income in the migrant family (previously existing due to transfers of relatives from abroad).

Table 1 highlights the main objects and directions of migration policy regulation at the present stage.

Table 1. Objects of migration policy regulation in the Republic of Kazakhstan in the context of a pandemic and the political situation in neighboring countries


Citizens of Kazakhstan

Foreign citizens

Policy measures

“Stuck migrants”

  1. Tourists
  2. Students in foreign universities and schools
  3. Migrant workers who lost their jobs in the pandemic
  1. Those wishing to leave temporarily residing on a guest visa
  2. International students
  3. Migrant workers and foreign specialists (expats)
  4. Transit migrants

Assistance in leaving the countries, negotiations with other countries on the permission of departure of Kazakhstani citizens and on the extradition/departure of foreign citizens from the Republic of Kazakhstan, organization of charter flights in compliance with sanitary and hygienic standards and procedures

Forced migrants

1) Embassy staff in Afghanistan

2) Compatriots who lived in countries with unstable political situation

1) Ethnic repatriates from countries with unstable political situation (Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, etc.)

2) Refugees

Assistance in leaving politically unstable countries, if necessary – documentation, provision of temporary housing, material assistance (food, clothing)

Illegal migrants

  1. Labor migrants (in South Korea, in Europe)
  2. Other categories who violated the visa regime in foreign countries
  3. Victims of human trafficking

1) Labor migrants (mainly from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan)

2) Victims of human trafficking

Provision of legal assistance in the expulsion of Kazakhstani citizens from foreign countries, negotiations with countries on the extradition of their citizens from the Republic of Kazakhstan, joint agreements on the legalization of the situation of migrants and joint actions to combat illegal human traffic

Note – Compiled by the authors

According to Table 1, “Stuck migrants” are covered by the following measures. From February 2, 2020 to May 1, 2021, citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan were returned from the following regions: Europe – more than 5 thousand people; Asia-Pacific countries – more than 4 thousand people; CIS countries – more than 11 thousand people; Middle East and Africa – more than 12 thousand people; North and South America – more than 500 people.

With the assistance of the Migration service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, migrants, who as a result of pandemic quarantine measures could not leave the country, were assisted in processing documents and organizing departure to the country of origin. Since 2021 the Ministry of Internal Affairs employees have helped more than five thousand migrants voluntarily leave the country, while 956 foreigners whose passports have expired have been issued certificates of return. From March 16, 2020 to May 1, 2021, the issuance of permits for a transit corridor through the territory of Kazakhstan (railway and bus transport) for the return from Russia of more than fifty-six thousand citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan was organized. Among them, Uzbekistan citizens are more than forty thousand, Kyrgyzstan citizens – more than thirteen thousand, and Tajikistan citizens – more than three thousand.

Migration policy during the pandemic included measures to extend the stay of foreign nationals for the period of quarantine in case when their departure for some reason was impossible. On behalf of the Head of state, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan took a number of legislative measures to cancel temporary registration within five days for foreigners. In the case of a stay of more than thirty days, a temporary residence permit (“TRP”) is issued to a foreigner. The foreigner himself is now exempt from the need to personally contact the migration authorities. All responsibility for informing about the arrival, stay, and registration of the TRP of foreigners is assigned to the individuals and legal entities receiving them. At the same time, the cancellation of registration does not lead to uncontrolled migration, since the authorities receive information about foreigners who have entered, left and are staying in the country from the Unified information system “Berkut” database.

The Government of Kazakhstan, following the example of world powers, has taken a number of restrictive measures on the entry of foreign citizens into the territory of Kazakhstan to prevent the spread of COVID–19. From March 16, 2020 to April 15, 2020, a state of emergency was introduced in Kazakhstan, which was subsequently extended until May 11, 2020. Due to the tightening of restrictions for the period of state of emergency, the work of the migration service was suspended from March 27, 2020 until the situation stabilized. Accordingly, it was decided to provide all services immediately after the end of the state of emergency and release foreign citizens from administrative responsibility for violating the terms of stay and untimely departure from the country.

At the same time, the 30-day visa-free regime for citizens of fifty-seven countries and seventy-two-hour transit travel for citizens of China and India were canceled until November 1, 2020. For the period of quarantine measures, a special procedure for crossing state borders was established with the introduction of restrictions on entry and exit for citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan and foreign citizens, as well as stateless persons. The exception was made only for employees of international organizations, members of train and locomotive crews, crews of aircraft and ships, citizens of Kazakhstan returning to the country or traveling abroad for treatment and permanent residence, persons following to care for seriously ill relatives or for the funeral of loved ones, foreign citizens who are family members of citizens of Kazakhstan or have a residence permit of Kazakhstan. The approval of an Interdepartmental Commission chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan (IDC) was required for foreigners-employees of companies in Kazakhstan with social significance to enter the country.

There were also changes in internal migration during the pandemic: There were complications for pendulum labor migration (from suburbs to large cities) and problems with the movement of citizens within the country between regions (including for shift workers). The flows of educational migration within the country decreased due to the transition to online education, thus, university students and college students from other cities and villages mostly returned home.

The activation of forms of distance learning in the conditions of a pandemic led to the development of the phenomenon of “migration without going abroad”, that is, now students and students can study at foreign universities without crossing the border, through Internet technologies. They can receive foreign education “sitting at home” in their homeland.

In general, over the years of independence, a fourth of the population of our country became participants in emigration processes. As a result, this part of the population did not participate in social reproduction. It can be noted that the migration processes in our country had a significant impact on the economic and political situation.

According to the International Organization for Migration, our country belongs to the countries of the world where the strongest migration processes are observed. Comparing the demographic indicators accord-

ing to the IOM, it can be noted that Kazakhstan accounts for about 0.4% of the total number of international migrants, and the population accounts for 0.003% of the total world population. These figures indicate a strong migration flow in our country. Figure 1 demonstrates the whole migration situations.

The above dynamics shows the involvement of Kazakhstan in the world system, the susceptibility of our country to trends occurring around the world, which in turn imposes certain restrictions on the migration policy of the state.

On the other hand, in our country, we can note active and internal migration as well. At present, internal migration is becoming a mass phenomenon that significantly affects the development of regions and large cities, especially metropolitan regions. The directions of internal migration in our country are similar to similar processes in other countries and are typical for many countries. Cities attract people from rural regions, and the countryside, as a socio-economic element of the economic system, is declining, as the rural population, trying to improve living and working conditions, move to cities. Figure 2 represents internal migration in our country.



As in a number of other countries, the main recipients, that is, the regions receiving migration flows, are cities of republican significance.

Kazakhstan has a system of obtaining permits for attracting migrant workers by individuals and foreign labor by enterprises. In 2015–2019, the number of labor migrants attracted by patents (permits of the migration service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, valid until 2022), increased almost fourfold from 141 thousand to 53–55 thousand people (Figure 3), the predominant share among labor migrants are immigrants from Uzbekistan (more than 90%), after them the share of immigrants from Tajikistan and Azerbaijan is relatively significant. Also, men predominate in the gender section (86–94% by years).

Note – Compiled by the authors on the basis of statistical data

Foreign labor force (FLF) is attracted by enterprises in much smaller numbers. In 2015–2019, the number of FLF decreased from thirty-seven thousand to twenty-five thousand people (Figure 4). Most of the foreign labor forces are citizens of China, Uzbekistan, and India.

Despite the existence of legal channels for attracting labor migrants, illegal labor migration continues to exist on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan. To identify persons who violate the migration legislation on the territory of the country, an operational and preventive event “Migrant” is periodically held. Police officers carry out inspections of places of compact residence of foreign citizens, work out the residential sector, construction sites, markets, organizations, employers illegally using the hired labor of foreign citizens, and vehicles.

During the operation in June 2021, 13,467 violations of migration legislation were revealed, of which: 10,055 violations by foreigners of the terms of stay in the country; 3,316 facts of illegal employment by foreigners. 702 employers were brought to responsibility for the illegal use of foreign labor; individuals and legal entities were brought in for late informing the Department of Internal Affairs about foreigners staying with them – 5,233; 62 foreigners were brought in for begging. During the operation, police officers identified 210 foreigners who, since the beginning of the year, evaded the execution of the court’s decision on expulsion, were forcibly expelled from the country. The funds spent on expulsion will be reimbursed in court according to police claims against individuals or legal entities who invited a foreigner or used his work at the time of establishing the fact of illegal stay of an immigrant in Kazakhstan.

During the republican operational and preventive event “Migrant” held in December 2021 in Almaty, 921 violators of migration legislation were identified, 686 of them were foreign citizens who violated the rules of stay in the Republic of Kazakhstan. 24 employers were involved in Kazakhstan for violating the rules of attracting foreign labor (FLF). This is only the statistics of illegal migration with a one-time detection and only within one large city.

The country’s migration policy faces challenges to combat the illegal import of labor into Kazakhstan. In the future, measures are needed to identify the reasons for the refusal to legalize foreign labor by employers, to change regulatory documents to simplify the procedure for obtaining permits to attract IRS by employers, to regularly monitor the labor market for violations of migration legislation.

The consequences of the pandemic for migrants. The IOM report “Study of the socio-economic impact of COVID–19 on returnees and stranded migrants in Central Asia and the Russian Federation” states that, being employed, every second migrant interviewed reported lower earnings compared to the period before the outbreak of COVID–19 (IOM, 2021). The share of respondents working in the informal sector was about 50% and was higher among respondents in Kazakhstan than among respondents in the Russian Federation.

The same report revealed that about 7 out of 10 migrants surveyed reported that their financial situation worsened due to COVID–19, and in general, the consequences of COVID–19 were more significant in Kazakhstan compared to the Russian Federation. In Kazakhstan, the deterioration of the financial situation was associated with the total or partial loss of income, debts, as well as the lack of a source of income or income level insufficient to cover basic needs (24% of respondents). Data analysis also showed that the financial situation of migrant women in Kazakhstan was significantly worse than that of male respondents. The most frequent problems were called insufficient income, lower wages, unemployment, debts, mental stress and the desire to leave, but the inability to do so. In Kazakhstan, 70% of respondents reported that they began to face problems only after the outbreak of COVID–19.

IOM experts recommend implementing a two-component strategy based on the results of primary research to meet the needs and reduce the vulnerabilities of stranded migrants in the direction of solving problems related to the consequences of COVID–19. It is necessary to create corridors for legal and safe return migration with appropriate precautions, and priority should also be given to digital information campaigns among migrants, especially in social networks and messengers.

In the sphere of regulation of ethnic repatriation in Kazakhstan, measures are being taken to simplify the procedure for accepting citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan by ethnic Kazakhs. Thus, since January 1, 2021, the possibility has been introduced by law for Kandas (ethnic repatriates) to simultaneously apply for a permit for permanent residence in Kazakhstan and for admission to Kazakh citizenship. Previously, these procedures were carried out separately, while the procedure for registration of permanent residence took 2 months. Then a residence permit was issued within a month, and only after that it was possible to apply for admission to Kazakh citizenship, which took 3 months. Now all three stages are taking place simultaneously. Since the beginning of 2021, 3257 ethnic repatriates have been granted citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan in this manner.

Currently, a single algorithm is being implemented for all state bodies (Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Information and Public Development, local executive bodies) involved in working with ethnic repatriates – from issuing them a Kandas certificate to admission to citizenship.

As a result, the repatriates will apply only once to the PSC (and not to each state agency separately), the list of documents will be reduced by half, the time for passing all stages will be 90 days (the materials will be considered by all state bodies simultaneously, and not in turn, as now).

In the field of legalizing the stay of migrants in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a lot of work is being done to document them. Thus, in 2021, the Ministry of Internal Affairs provided assistance to over six thousand persons with an unregulated status and who do not have identity documents without citizenship. They were documented by an identity document – 4,969 (including a document of a citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan – 3357, a certificate of a stateless person – 1612, with further acquisition of citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan). In respect of 1357 persons, the procedure for confirming citizenship is being completed (confirmation of citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan – 999 and recognition as a stateless person – 358). Considering the positive assessment of society and the desire to finally solve the problem of stateless persons in our country, the Ministry of Internal Affairs decided to extend the campaign to identify persons with an unsettled status and without identity documents until May 2022.

Changes are also taking place in the institutional support of migration policy. In 2021, more than a third of the functions in the field of migration related to the regulation of migration processes and labor migration were transferred from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The corresponding Decree “On measures to further improve the public administration system of the Republic of Kazakhstan” was signed by the Head of State on July 19, 2021. From January 1, 2022, the Ministry of Internal Affairs was not engaged in interdepartmental coordination, the development of a system of measures in the field of regulation and monitoring of migration processes, the assignment of refugee status, as well as the issuance of permits to labor immigrants working for individuals. This measure allows linking two tools for attracting foreigners to the labor market of Kazakhstan: permits for individuals and permits for attracting FLF by enterprises. Perhaps, compromise solutions will be found to reduce the flows of illegal labor migration with simplification of the procedure for legalizing attracted labor immigrants for entrepreneurs in the field of small and mediumsized businesses (construction, services, processing of agricultural products, agriculture).

The third direction of migration policy is the regulation of internal migration. In this direction, mechanisms are working to support resettlement to the northern and north-eastern regions of Kazakhstan, where depopulation is taking place – a decrease in the population, from the southern and western regions, where, in turn, there is a constant increase in the population due to high fertility and low mortality.

The State Program for the Promotion of Productive Employment “Enbek” has such measures to support resettlement as 1) payment of “lifting” allowances for the head of the family and family members; 2) covering the costs of renting housing for families of displaced persons (up to 12 months); 3) assistance in obtaining permanent housing (purchase or long-term lease); 4) assistance in finding able-bodied family members of displaced persons; 5) assistance in the development of entrepreneurship of displaced persons (micro-loans, soft loans for business development).

In general, this program continues to meet the demand of the northern regions for the resettlement of families, but the available official statistics indicate that some migrants are not integrated into the destination regions. According to the data provided by the regions, out of a total of 9206 people resettled in the North Kazakhstan and Kostanay regions, 770 (8.3%) returned back to the regions of departure (Kazmerkevichet et al., 2021). This underlines the relevance of studying the factors that complicate the integration of migrants in the northern regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The main issues faced by migrants who have moved from the south are related to finding housing and settling a family in a new place, as well as job search and work arrangement. Among the main difficulties in finding housing, which were reported by respondents interviewed by IOM experts, were often called: high price, limited supply on the local market and quality that does not match the price. Some of the interviewed beneficiaries pointed out the importance of support from their neighbors and work colleagues for better adaptation to new conditions. The respondents raised the issue of the need to provide adaptation and integration services based on the experience of adaptation centers for Kandas, covering not only economic support, but also cultural orientation and improvement of language and communication skills.

In the direction of regulating internal migration, there are challenges to create conditions for the successful adaptation of migrants and their subsequent integration into the host society.

Thus, migration regulation in Kazakhstan is aimed at resolving many problematic issues that were caused, on the one hand, by relatively “short-term” factors – for example, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and due to political events in some countries of the world, and, on the other hand, by “longterm” factors, such as socio-economic transformations in Kazakhstan and in neighboring countries, in partners in the migration movement (donors and recipients of migrants), migration policies of countries that stimulate or restrict migration, creating conditions for the adaptation and integration of migrants within their country.

Based on the results of our analysis we reveal that Kazakhstan is realizing local risks caused by internal factors and the peculiarities of the economic, social, political and demographic development of our country, and global risks associated with exogenous reasons which Kazakhstan is unable to influence and its migration policy has to consider their consequences and impact on migration processes inside and outside the country (with the participation of Kazakhstani citizens). Also, Kazakhstan, gradually integrating into the world economic space through the development of foreign trade, the movement of capital (investment), and the exchange of technologies, has become dependent on the conjuncture of world markets, global information flows, and technological achievements of the leading countries of the world. Subsequently, the subject of migration policy regulation becomes more complicated and the methods and mechanisms of regulation become more sophisticated (e.g., electronic systems and databases allow improving the monitoring of migration processes). In addition, at the present stage, the multifactorial and multi-vector nature of migration processes is increasing, that is, the list of objective and subjective factors influencing migration decisions is increasing (e.g., not just the difference in wages can attract migrants to Western countries, but also opportunities for personal self-realization, political freedoms, and security guarantees).

To reduce the impact of these challenges and risks, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan at all levels needs to build a policy of regulating migration flows, supporting its citizens abroad, facilitating the adaptation and integration of immigrants in Kazakh society. Migration policy aimed at solving these tasks will be effective if it is carried out in a complex with the education policy, employment policy, and labor market development, the formation of a favorable legal environment in the country, foreign economic regulation and investment policy in the country (Figure 5). It is necessary to coordinate measures of different types of policies when creating conditions (stimulating or limiting) for regulating migration flows both within the country and external flows. For example, to offset the risks of “brain drain” during educational and labor migration, measures are needed both to improve the quality of educational services in Kazakhstan, and measures to stimulate the creation of new jobs by Kazakhstani employers, active employment of graduates of universities and colleges, competitive wage systems and working conditions (safety and labor protection), to develop the infrastructure of the regions (contributes to improving the conditions and quality of life of the population. To achieve consistency in the implementation of various types of policies, it is necessary to integrate migration regulation into the tasks of almost all policy directions in Kazakhstan, especially since the challenges and risks of migration are relevant for all spheres of the country’s economy and the economic activity of the population. After all, migration determines both the contours of staffing for economic growth and the conditions for ensuring the demographic security of regions, and also serves as a “litmus test” for


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determining the attractiveness of regions for the population to live and for the development of entrepreneurial initiative

In general, the solution of the issues that currently arise before the migration policy in Kazakhstan requires not only constant monitoring of the situation and identification of risks, challenges to the policy on migration movement of the population, but also the construction of mechanisms for regulating all sides of the migration process, considering factors affecting the migration mood of the population. Also, it should be paid attention to the coherence of actions within the framework of various types of policies, the organization of interdepartmental regulation, the mutual strengthening of the impact of measures of various nature (direct and indirect methods, administrative measures and measures of economic regulation, systems of “checks and balances”).


The article systematizes the risks and challenges of modernity faced by migration policy as a whole in the world and separately – on the example of Kazakhstan. During a review of publications by foreign and domestic authors, international organizations, we summarized the key problems of migration regulation of global, macro-regional, interregional and national scale. We discussed the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for the migration processes. The quarantine restrictions on the movement of people both between countries and within the country – between regions have caused a lot of problems related to the need to ensure the return home of “stuck” migrants (tourists, foreign students, labor migrants), as well as the organization of safe movement of flows of people when necessary (sanitary posts, organization of isolation of arrived migrants – quarantine). The paper considers the response measures of migration policy aimed both at solving short-term tasks depending on the waves of the pandemic (tightening and weakening of quarantine) and long-term issues of migration security (measures to legalize the status of unregulated migrants, ensuring the protection of the rights of their citizens abroad and the rights of foreign citizens in the country). The novelty of the authors’ approaches lies in defining approaches to assessing modern problems and challenges facing migration policy in our country, differentiating them into impact levels and distribution scales (global, local, national), in identifying topical issues of migration regulation, considering emerging short-term tasks and the action of long-term factors.

ECONOMY Series. № 2(106)/2022


Currently, the migration situation in our country and in the world as a whole has a certain degree of instability caused by the consequences of the COVID–19 pandemic and political events in the Middle East, Afghanistan, with the migration crisis in European countries, as well as with political changes within countries. When preparing and implementing migration policy measures in response to emerging challenges, it is necessary not only to comprehensively analyze the risks and factors of internal and external migration movement but also to study the practices of other countries facing similar challenges, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of previously implemented migration policy measures, the results achieved on the measures taken, their own experience and foreign practice of regulating certain areas of migration. This will allow, on the one hand, to continue to develop effective mechanisms for supporting migrants, and on the other hand, to make adjustments to the existing practice of migration regulation, taking into account foreign experience and “work on mistakes” by analyzing past experience.

Measures are needed to respond both to new challenges of a global and local nature, as well as to ongoing problems with a long-term impact. These include issues of reducing illegal or unregulated migration (labor migrants, refugees, transit migrants), issues of protecting the rights of Kazakhstani citizens abroad (the need to conclude bilateral agreements with the countries receiving our labor migrants, regulating educational migration), issues of stimulating ethnic repatriation to Kazakhstan within the framework of compliance with national security requirements: taking into account the risks of penetration of radical extremists into the country, taking into account the political situation in the country of origin and taking into account interstate agreements and treaties.

As it was noted in the article, Kazakhstan pursues a migration policy aimed at solving issues related to the impact of both local and local risks, but also taking into account global factors. At the same time, the development of responses to emerging challenges is based on the analysis of migration regulation measures carried out in other countries and the analysis of other types of state policies that, together with migration policy, give a synergistic effect, reinforcing each other's impact. The emphasis on the complexity and consistency of migration policy measures with employment, education, health, regional and sectoral development policies, investment and innovation policies helps to achieve effective solutions to problems through coordinated actions of several government agencies and through joint efforts in one direction.


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Year: 2022
City: Karaganda
Category: Economy