DUSHANBE, November 23, 2011 – Working conditions and opportunities for Tajik migrants should become a top priority of the Government of Tajikistan, according to international experts and senior Tajik officials meeting in Dushanbe at a high-level workshop on “Migration and Development: A Roadmap for Success” on November 17-18.
As the leading recipient of migrants’ remittances as a share of GDP in the world, with 25 percent of families having at least one worker abroad, labor migration from Tajikistan has played a significant role in economic growth and poverty reduction over the last decade. Recognizing this importance, over 60 participants devoted two days to learn from international experience and consider improvements in the regulation of labor migration for more effective support of migration in Tajikistan’s development. Participants represented the top leadership of respective ministries and agencies, both on the national and regional level.
Many CIS countries are strengthening the legislative and institutional framework and developing innovative approaches and practical reforms to realize the full potential of migration, while addressing the risks and challenges. The Government of Tajikistan has taken critical steps over the last two years with regard to intergovernmental coordination to improve the effectiveness of labor migration management in the country.
Organized by the World Bank Migration and Remittance Peer Assisted learning (MIRPAL) network, with financial support from the Department for International Development (DFID, UK) under the Central Asia Regional Migration Program (CARMP), the seminar was the first of its kind to bring together high ranking state representatives for active discussion of the most challenging aspects and perspectives of the labor migration process. MIRPAL is planning to carry out similar events in other CIS countries over the coming months.
In his opening remarks, Alisher Yarbabaev, the Head of the Employment and Social Protection Department under the Executive Office of the President, said that “Addressing the issues of migration policy is becoming increasingly important for the Government of Tajikistan. Competent and effective regulation of labor migration could greatly benefit the country, and in particular, the migrants and their families.”
“Migration policy is becoming a national priority, and its effectiveness is predicated on a successful interaction between all governmental branches, ministries and agencies,” said Safiallo Devonaev, Head of the Migration Services under the Government of Republic of Tajikistan.
The seminar became an interaction platform for top officials of the Republic of Tajikistan, such as the heads of ministries and agencies, as well as regional authorities, on the issue of regulation of labor migration. Practical issues discussed during the seminar included improvement of labor migration management mechanisms through introduction of results-oriented and focused programs of “organized recruitment,” which in turn envision coordinated activities and approaches for institutionalized integration of migration agenda into the national development programs of the country; and improvement of professional and technical skills of migrants aligned with improvement of social protection of migrants via establishment of specialized funds.
“Tajikistan would have prospects for sustainable development as long as it learns to regulate labor migration flows, given the fact that annually over 180 thousand additional Tajik workers enter the labor market, which significantly surpasses the availability of jobs in the economy,” said Tomas Achacoso, the main guest speaker of the seminar, and a former Director of Ministry of Migration of the Philippines. “By making migration a policy priority of the President and Cabinet, the Philippines transformed its foreign labor force into a transformative tool for broad-based development. In addition, organized recruitment, provided it is properly managed and implemented, can make a significant contribution in decreasing the level of illegal migration and human trafficking, as demonstrated by the experience of Philippines.”
During her welcoming address to the participants of the seminar, the Country Manager of the World Bank Office in Tajikistan, Ms. Marsha Olive, stressed that “The Government has already made notable progress, including the establishment of a Migration Agency, development of a strategy, plan of action and draft law on migration. Now the task is to focus on creation of institutions and mechanisms to assist long-term development by supporting Tajikistan’s most valuable asset – its people.”
As a result of the seminar, participants have developed a range of recommendations on improvement of coordination mechanisms of labor migration management of the Government of Republic of Tajikistan for further consideration and adoption by relevant state structures of the country.