Labor Migration in the CIS Countries

Labor Migration in the CIS Countries

Addressing Labor Migration Issues in the CIS Countries

Every year, 10 million migrant workers are on the move in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), most of them heading to Russia. That is why labor migration is one of the important issues on the development agenda in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Region. 

Since January 2009, migration practitioners from six CIS countries (Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, and Tajikistan) have been working with the GDLN ECA team on a series of consultations to address the migrant worker issue. The objectives of the sessions were to review current migration policies and practices in, and the challenges faced by, sending and receiving countries; draw lessons from some countries in other regions (Latin America) that have been successful in managing migration and maximizing the development impacts of remittances; and, as relevant, contribute inputs to the development of national anticrisis action plans. 

To learn first-hand from migration experts in other countries, 12 policymakers from Armenia, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, and Tajikistan went on a study tour to Philippines—a country with extensive experience in international migration. A session on the outcomes and lessons learned from this study tour was followed by an international migration workshop in Moscow, Russia.  

One of the key outcomes of the Moscow workshop was the launch of the Migration and Remittance Peer-Assisted Learning Network (MiRPAL). The network is a community of migration and remittance practitioners and policymakers in ECA countries, with a Secretariat housed at Migration XXI Century, a Moscow-based NGO. Through MiRPAL, CIS countries have been mobilizing a wide variety of practitioners and experts to help meet migration challenges systematically. Ministries, migration and demography experts, central bankers, historians, and political analysts are joining in the discussion with governments, employers, donors, and diaspora and human rights organizations.

According to Vyacheslav Postavnin, president of Migration XXI Century, “MiRPAL’s role is to provide sound economic analysis, collect and aggregate migration data, work out innovative approaches to settling migration challenges, and transfer these ideas both to policymakers and to the public.” 

Results achieved through MiRPAL since 2009 include:

  • Important institutional changes in two member countries: Tajikistan put in place a new government migration service to address labor migration issues; and Russia adopted a new law to issue work permits for migrant workers quickly and more transparently.
  • MiRPAL member countries are using two action plans—on migration statistics and remittances statistics—to harmonize data collection, reporting, and terminology.
  • MiRPAL has been working to increase the visibility of migration in the public and policy discourse through advocacy and knowledge-sharing work.

For the next two years, the NGO and the governments of the CIS countries will continue to receive the World Bank’s advisory and technical support on developing joint and country-specific recommendations and implementation of initiatives to improve labor migration policies in MiRPAL member countries, and on improving remittance estimation practices and policies.


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