Kazakhstan Should Attract Educated and Qualified Migrants, Says Expert

ASTANA – Kazakhstan should involve its diaspora to facilitate the attraction of investments, innovations and technologies, according to Gabit Matayev, the chief researcher at the Economic Research Institute. 

Photo credit: Khabar 24.

In a recent study published on July 27, Matayev said the Kazakh diaspora can act as a human link to attract the inflow of capital, knowledge, and business culture to their homeland.

“This would be a type of compensation for a brain drain problem for our country,” he suggested.

According to the study, as a country that is both a donor and a supplier of international migration, Kazakhstan needs to take advantage of the global market of highly qualified workers. 

The country needs to use the opportunity for more active and effective measures to stimulate return migration.

Competition for qualified specialists

Matayev noted the World Bank’s Match and Motive Matrix approach, which focuses on how closely migrants’ skills and attributes match the needs of the destination countries. The use of this approach would enable Kazakhstan to classify and facilitate the type of migration that it requires.

According to the Bureau of National Statistics, net migration in Kazakhstan has been consistently negative since 2012. With the exception of 2020 and 2022, this indicator has not improved, as the country witnessed a stable trend towards increasing number of emigrants and a decrease in the number of those who received Kazakh citizenship.

Over the past twenty years, Kazakh citizens have moved primarily to Germany and Russia, followed by Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Excessive emigration can lead to a substantial brain drain, particularly due to competition for qualified specialists with more developed countries, which can offer better conditions for highly skilled specialists.

According to Matayev, the primary task for Kazakhstan is to enhance living and working conditions, which would increase the overall attractiveness of the country. Otherwise, the emigration of highly qualified specialists will continue.

Attracting educated workforce

According to some estimates, over 300,000 people have left the country in the last five years, with one-third having a higher degree. 

From 2011 to 2022, the number of people with a higher education entering the country has halved. 

According to the Kazakh Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, as of June 1, more than 14,200 foreigners work legally in Kazakhstan.

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