In the Kazakhstan information space, the list of topics that can be summarized under the name “Kazakhstan and Migration” cannot be called a leader in attracting attention. After emigration of the Russian and Russian-speaking population from the country declined in the late 1990s (before that, according to official data, about a fifth of its population left the republic), the term “migration” began to rarely occur in the media (media ). From time to time, only one aspect of the problems of migration was manifested: attempts by citizens of various Asian countries in transit through the territory of Kazakhstan and other CIS states to illegally enter Western Europe. For example, as early as 1997, the leadership of the National Security Committee (KNB) voiced this problem in the press (for example, the article “The problem of illegal migration of foreign citizens is becoming more acute”, Panorama, No. 50, 12.26.1997). Other migration “edges” were not yet seen, although, perhaps, it was possible to foresee, and even, in part, it was possible to calculate them at that time, whether public policy is focused on solving long-term problems. Then, unfortunately, this did not happen.
Again, talking about migration in the most recent years. The attention of the public and authorities was increasingly attracted by the labor and, at the same time, mostly illegal migration of citizens of neighboring countries of post-Soviet Central Asia to Kazakhstan. The concepts of “labor” and “illegal” have become almost synonymous: “illegal employment is one of the main characteristics of labor migration in the Central Asian region,” noted a well-known Kazakhstan expert on this issue, Elena Sadovskaya (“Migration in Central Asia: problems and prospects. Materials international conference ”, Almaty, 2005). To illustrate this statement, one can cite the following fact: according to official data, in 2002, 18 citizens of Kyrgyzstan and two of Tajikistan worked in Kazakhstan on the basis of legal work permits, while in fact such a number of foreign citizens could easily be found in 2–3 construction sites in the vicinity of any large southern city of Kazakhstan.
Despite attention to this problem (it has even acquired a folklore edge - jokes have appeared about citizens of Central Asian countries working in Kazakhstan), there is no exact idea of its scale in the country. It is believed that about 1 million labor migrants from neighboring countries arrive in Kazakhstan annually, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in particular at the 4th Kazakhstani women’s forum in September 2004 (B. Sultanov, “Illegal migration in Kazakhstan and security issues of the country ", a report at the above-mentioned international conference). This is a colossal figure for Kazakhstan, where the entire population of the country in 2005 only slightly exceeded 15 million people, and the number of economically active population (15 years and older) in the 2nd quarter of 2005 was 7.9 million. Thus, it is clear that the ratio of labor migrants to able-bodied Kazakhstanis is simply unprecedented. Hardly anywhere else in the EU or the CIS countries are there such examples, and a larger gap can be found, perhaps, only in the Emirates.
In Russia, however, there is also no completely clear picture of the number of illegal immigrants that even the director of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Romodanovsky, acknowledged in the program “Club of Senators” on Russia TV channel on November 26, 2005. But, in any case, the ratio of the working-age population to the migrants is lower there than in Kazakhstan, based on the figure of 1 million migrants in our republic.
The fact that such a picture objectively exists indicates the need and even the inevitability of importing labor into Kazakhstan. Indirectly, this is sometimes recognized by officials, for example, Gulzhana Karagusova, Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan, remarked in February 2005 at the conference “On the Status and Problems of Personnel Training in the Education System and at Industrial Enterprises of the Republic of Kazakhstan”:
- When the implementation of the housing construction program began, we saw how much there are not enough working professions, elementary working professions. The loss of vocational training schools was very strong. A significant part of many construction companies are forced to hire foreign experts.
The conditions for the ever-increasing demand for foreign labor are evident. The directors of the factories speak of workers of 60-65 years old, who can be seen in the workshops, while the youth are not there. In the mining and metallurgical industry, which, along with the oil industry, is the basis of the Kazakh economy (about a third in total exports, more than one fifth is in industrial output), the personnel situation is also critical. The average age of a worker is 50-55 years old; young people go to the slaughterhouse and to the furnaces are extremely reluctant. At the same time, representatives of the sectoral trade union also fear that the integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) may lead to labor migration of Kazakhstani qualified personnel to the mining and metallurgical enterprises of Russia - where salaries are higher.
Surprisingly, despite the seriousness of the problem of personnel shortages for the economy and agreement that it will have to be solved by importing labor, it is not known how much serious research on the optimal total number of labor migrants, their number in the professional context and qualifications . The only official statement we know about this belongs to Minister Gulzhane Karagusova, who declared at the opening of the first Eurasian Parliamentary Forum on Migration in Almaty in September 2005:
“If Russia found out that for the normal functioning of the economy in the coming years, it needs to import 1 million labor resources, then if we cover the entire Kazakhstan industrial and innovative program that we have adopted, Kazakhstan will need a smaller number of people to implement it.
As you can see, today, the issue of labor migration in connection with the tasks of developing the country's economy can be characterized by officials only in the form and at the level of tolerances on the verge of the subjunctive mood. It is amazing, but it is.
Another typical example. One of the leaders of the organizational structures of the EurAsEC, by the way, a Kazakhstani citizen by economist, in his article on the problems of illegal migration in the countries of the Eurasian Economic Community relied almost exclusively on Russian data, statistics and estimates. Why not on Kazakhstan? Apparently, for a small number and unsystematic.
But foreign experts point out the inevitability of widespread involvement of foreign labor in Kazakhstan. For example, Ganeshan Vignaraja, a senior economist at the Asian Bank for Reconstruction (ADB), presenting the ADB analytical report “Central Asia in 2015” in November 2005 in Almaty, said that if Kazakhstan wants to achieve its targets for GDP growth, “you do without large-scale attraction of foreign labor ".
The situation with the need to import workers in Kazakhstan is very similar to the one that exists in Russia, with the only difference that the neighbors discuss this topic extensively, and there are even estimates of the inevitable annual number of migrant workers allowed into the country. At the Eurasian Parliamentary Forum on Migration mentioned above, member of the Federation Council of Russia Vadim Gustov noted, referring to “scientifically based estimates”, that in order to “close” the problem of labor shortages, 1 million labor migrants must be “imported” into the Russian Federation every year. It is also known that this figure is too small, but, one way or another, work is under way on this problem in Russia, which is unnoticeable in Kazakhstan. Why? There are a number of reasons, and even ideological among them: too many problems and miscalculations of public policy may emerge as a result of an impartial analysis of the causes of migration, and this will cast a shadow on the image of Kazakhstan as a country leading an exceptionally successful reform policy.
Today, issues of migrants to Kazakhstan at the official and semi-official level are mainly commented from the point of view of control over security threats. Figuratively speaking, this “topic” is not for the ministries of labor or the economy, but for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A similar picture is in the expert community: so, nothing is heard about the existence of analytical work on the current and future level of dependence of the Kazakhstani labor market on migrants.
It should be noted that a certain part of the public is not ready for a serious perception of the problem of increasing labor migration to Kazakhstan. The author of this article recently had to see for himself. It was worthwhile at one of the discussions only to try to raise the question of the need to discuss future relations in Kazakhstan’s society, of which migrants from neighboring countries will become an important and large part, as the author in the aggressive, almost forgotten style of the Stalin-Vyshinsky times, was showered with accusations of trying to “make intra-Asian and the intra-Muslim split. " These reproaches later migrated even to seemingly respectable publications.
The inevitability of an increase in the number of external labor migrants in Kazakhstan follows from several reasons. First, the imminent accession of the country to the WTO. Again, we turn to the words of Minister Karagusova, said at one of the expert conferences in 2005: “The first thing that is required when joining the WTO is to open our labor market, and given the imbalance that we have in the supply and demand force, we can really be in a deplorable state, when a large part of our working-age population, due to their qualifications, simply cannot find their place. ” This is also indicated by the leaders of the mining and metallurgical trade unions, noting that “with the accession to the WTO there will be an opportunity for a massive influx of foreign labor into our market, especially from China.”
Secondly, a complete imbalance in the vocational education market. According to the well-known Kazakhstani businessman Kadyr Baykenov, “for the economy of a developed country, the normal ratio of the number of trained specialists with higher, secondary special and primary vocational education is 1: 1: 5; and in Kazakhstan, the ratio is 6: 2: 1; we train six engineers per worker, while in other countries there are five trained workers per engineer. ” We note along the way that Mr. Baikenov’s words are about the quantitative aspect of this problem, and the qualitative one is not affected, and there are very few engineers who, in fact, as well as skilled workers, the universities still produce mostly lawyers and economists. To correct this imbalance quickly, even in five years, is not realistic, which means you need to import foreign workers. Or abandon plans to raise their own processing industry.
Finally, an important third reason for the growing number of foreign workers and foreigners in general in Kazakhstan is Russia's attempt to control its labor market. The above-mentioned speech by Mr. Gustov at the conference on migration in Almaty in autumn 2005, like the measures in Russia to legalize migrants, was perceived by many as the result of the beginning of the formation of a policy of controlled migration. If the Russian authorities fail to accomplish this task by 100%, they will certainly try to regulate access to the country's labor market. Obviously, those who want to get there more than this market can really absorb. And under these conditions, there may be both attempts at politically motivated permission or refusing to citizens of certain countries access to the Russian market, or a kind of competition between the leadership of these countries for “knocking out” quotas from Moscow for their own. And what about Kazakhstan? Hypothetically, there is a danger that in the new conditions of competition for legal access to the Russian labor market, our Central Asian neighbors from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan will begin to lose (or lose some of their current positions) to labor migrants from other countries. For Kazakhstan, it is not so important who can press them out in Russia, it is important - where will our neighbors move from it, who are they “ousted out”? Option one - in Kazakhstan. Where else can an unemployed citizen of the above-mentioned republics go, and in the near future, perhaps also Turkmenistan?
We note once again: even the growing dependence of the Kazakhstani labor market on migrants is even more worrying, and even not that a relatively higher standard of living in Kazakhstan will inevitably attract more and more citizens of neighboring countries to the country, who by hook or by crook will strive here . The bad thing is that this large complex of problems is still outside the systematic study of the state and society.
In contrast to external migration, internal, another facet of migration problems in Kazakhstan is spoken more often. It is mainly about the influx of the rural population into the cities. This is how Sabit Zhusupov, president of the Kazakhstan Institute for Socio-Economic Information and Forecasting, speaks about it:
“Today, along with Kyrgyzstan, we are a country where there is a massive influx of rural population into the cities, while in most of the CIS countries, on the contrary. In the future president, these trends need to be taken into account, especially since according to forecasts, in the future, about 20% of the country's 44% of the population will remain in the countryside. That is, the fate of a quarter of the population is in a “suspended” state.
Obviously, without a serious public policy supported by society, these two flows of migration, external and internal, in the near future may already merge in Kazakhstani cities and seriously affect the situation in the country.