On 16 October, IOM continued direct assistance to vulnerable migrants in difficult life situation due to COVID-19. IOM in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan cooperated with the governments to send stranded migrants to home.
Nur-Sultan, 16 October 2020 – IOM Kazakhstan, IOM Tajikistan, and IOM Uzbekistan in cooperation with Governments continue to facilitate the return of over 180 stranded vulnerable migrants back to Tajikistan by land through the territory of Uzbekistan.
On 13 October IOM Kazakhstan received a message from IOM Mission in Tajikistan and Tajik Embassy in Tashkent, that a group of 68 stranded Tajik migrants moved to the check point Zhybek-Zholy in Kazakhstan next to the border with Uzbekistan. The group later expanded to over 180 people. Migrants had been stranded due to COVID-19 restrictions and could not leave the territory of Kazakhstan, having no means to sustain themselves in a foreign country. IOM is committed to continue facilitating voluntary return of those in need, removing people from the vacuum economic and legal condition they ended up in due to the pandemic.
Migrants do not belong to social protection schemes offered by local governments for their own nationals. It could also be difficult for migrants to organize distance learning for their children, even if they were enrolled in schools in the countries of destination. At the same time, there are very few options for them to return home as their countries of origin cannot arrange smooth repatriation, hence migrants need to rely on themselves with limited or no resources.
The direct assistance was made possible thanks to the joint efforts of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Embassies and Migration Service departments in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan and was supported by the regional IOM initiative "Mitigating Socio-Economic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Migrants and Communities in Central Asia and The Russian Federation", funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).