SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Legality and inclusion of foreign labour migrants in Kazakhstan’s urban space

Bhavna Dave (Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS)

Date: 3 November 2010Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 3 November 2010Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51

Type of Event: Seminar

After Russia, Kazakhstan is the second most popular destination for labour migrants from the former Soviet space as its enormous landlocked territories serve as a transit zone between Russia and the rest of Central Asia. The construction boom in new capital Astana and the former capital Almaty has turned them into the most coveted destinations for internal rural migrants and migrants from the neighbouring states (particularly from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan). The breakdown of the Soviet era mechanism of propiska (system of resident permit and registration in cities), which enabled the state to control the movement of the native populations to their urban centres, has removed the various bureaucratic barriers to mobility. At the same time, the government has been unable to devise any effective legislation or policy that allows internal and foreign migrants to register and work legally. While these migrants move in the fringes of the society, remaining invisible, lacking any juridical status, rights or protection, they are also utilising the Soviet era channels and trajectories of cross-border movements to forge a web of new transborder likages and networks. The paper points to how these developments are challenging the prevalent conceptions of nation, multiethnicity, and citizenship in the region.

Organiser: Paru Raman

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