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CIS Ministers Wrestle With Labor Migration Problem

Foreign ministers were meeting ahead of an October 5 CIS summit (RFE/RL) October 4, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Labor migration was high on the agenda of a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) foreign ministers' meeting today in the Tajik capital.

Participants reportedly are nearing agreement on deals to address the continuing problem of illegal labor migration, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Speaking at a joint press conference after today's meeting, Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin -- who chairs the CIS ministerial group -- said intergovernmental and bilateral agreements were ready to be signed.

"I think the regulation of the labor migration has one major problem, and that is illegal labor migration," Tazhin said. "So Kazakhstan has the following stance on the issue: the liberalization of legal labor migration -- which means those migrants who get official registration in a timely and well-defined manner -- and a tough stance against illegal migration."

A lack of job opportunities among CIS countries has forced hundreds of thousands of people to emigrate to Russia in search of seasonal jobs and income.

Kazakhstan has become a relatively new destination for labor migration, hosting many legal and illegal workers from the rest of Central Asia.

CIS heads of state are due to meet for their summit in Dushanbe on October 5.

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