Rights of the Oralman

Repatriation of Kazakhs to their historical homeland is one of the main priorities of the country’s migration policy. At the governmental level, measures are taken to establish mechanisms of repatriation of ethnic Kazakhs including their organized immigration and the creation of conditions for their life and activity at the place of their settlement.

Beginning in the year 1991, the Republic of Kazakhstan has accepted more than 706,000 ethnic Kazakhs.

From the first years of independence, the regulation of migration policy has been one of the main directions of governmental policy.

In 2007, the Concept of Migration Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan was adopted for the years 2007 – 2015 (Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan of August 28, 2007 No. 399).

The legal basis for this Program is the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan of December 13, 1997 “On Migration of the Population,” Decrees of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan of August 28, 2007 No. 399 “On the Concept of Migration Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan During 2007 – 2015,” of August 28, 2006 No. 167 “On the Strategy of Territorial Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan until 2015” (further – the Strategy of territorial development of the Republic of Kazakhstan until 2015) and of July 10, 2003 No. 1149 “On the State Program for the Development of Rural Localities During 2004 – 2010.”

In the framework of the current legislative base, the government renders to the Oralman necessary social assistance and support. At present, taking into account the lump sum allowance, funds for the purchase of housing, and compensation for the expense of moving and transporting belongings, each family, on average consisting of 5 people, is given 833,000 tenge.

In the country there are 14 centers for the temporary residence of the Oralman (further referred to as “centers”). Since 2008, centers of adaptation and integration of the Oralman have been launched in Karaganda, Shymkent and in the village Aksukent in the Southern Kazakhstan region. The construction of a standard adaptation center has begun in Aktau.

The adaptation programs implemented in the centers ensure legal consultations, learning of the state language and optionally the Russian language, vocational training or retraining, and professional development.

All the Oralman are provided with access to medical assistance, education, and social security, and they belong to one of the target groups that are helped with employment. More than 66% of the Oralman of employable age are employed in various spheres of manufacturing, and every fourth is employed in the agricultural sector.

With the purpose of assisting the Oralman, the Councils of Oralman were established under the regional Akimats, which study and solve the problems of the Oralman in their new living conditions.

An information database, “Oralman,” has been created and is being improved, which, in the future, will be integrated into the united social information system and will allow the provision of ethnic immigrants with the entire range of social services.

At present, housing projects for ethnic immigrants are being implemented in the Republic. Thus, in the city of Shymkent in the Southern Kazakhstan region, a project for the immigration of nearly 2,000 families of ethnic immigrants from the Republic of Uzbekistan is being realized. Two thousand cottages, a space-saving settlement, are being constructed by the immigrants themselves with the use of local construction materials. In Almaty, the project “Baibesik” for the construction of 185 houses is under way, and in the Saryarkin region of the city of Astana a project for the construction of the micro region “Nurbesik” is being developed.

During the course of immigration and integration of ethnic migrants into new public conditions, some problems arise.

The settlement of the Oralman is uneven and secondary migration occurs. At present, nearly sixty percent of immigrants live in regions with a problematic labor market – in the Southern Kazakhstan, Mangistau, Almaty, and Zhambyl regions. This situation does not conform to the state policy of labor resource distribution.

The level of employment and housing security of the Oralman is low.

In this regard, the Head of State has commissioned the development of the Program “Nurly Kosh” (Enactment of the Government of December 2, 2008 No. 1126).
The goal of the Program is the reasonable settlement on a voluntary basis and the provision of assistance in employment and routine life to ethnic Kazakhs, former citizens of the country who wished to come back to Kazakhstan, and internal migrants for the sake of demographical, social, and economic development of the regions and realization of participants’ potential.

The implementation of the Program will ensure the control of the processes of ethnic, internal and external migration and will subject them to the interests of social and economic development of the regions. It will stimulate the return to the country of citizens of various nationalities who emigrated from Kazakhstan for one reason or another.

Unfortunately, in practice, there are instances when the rights of the Oralman that are guaranteed by current legislation of Kazakhstan have been violated.

A review of appeals by the Oralman to the Human Rights Commission under the President of RK as well as of documentation of inspections performed by prosecuting authorities reveals that some territorial agencies of authorized state migration institutions frequently violate the provisions of the Law of RK “On the Procedure for Investigation of Appeals of Physical and Legal Personalities” as well as the Guidelines for determination of the status of the Oralman and their inclusion in the immigration quota for the Oralman. In addition, some of the Oralman drew the attention of the Human Rights Commission to instances of violation of their right to the receipt of pension payments until their obtainment of citizenship in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

A review of current legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan with regard to issues of housing assistance, pension payments and allowances to the Oralman disclosed that, in conformity with Article 2 of the Law of RK “On Pension Security in the Republic of Kazakhstan,” foreigners and individuals without citizenship continually residing on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan have the right to pension security equally with citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, if not otherwise stipulated by the law and international agreements.

Paragraph 1 of the Rules of Documentation and Registration of the Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan approved by the Enactment of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan of July 12, 2000 No. 1063 (further referred to as “Rules”) stipulates that citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan regardless of their place of residence, foreign citizens, and individuals without citizenship continually residing in the Republic of Kazakhstan should have one of the following identity documents: 1) a passport of a citizen of RK; 2) an identity card; 3) a residence permit for a foreigner in the RK; or 4) an identity card for an individual without citizenship.

There is no provision for the use of other documents not stipulated by the Rules.

Under these circumstances, the Oralman who have not yet obtained citizenship in the Republic of Kazakhstan and who have not documented their continual residence in the

Republic of Kazakhstan (residence permit) are not provided with pension payments and allowances from the Center (on the basis of the Oralman identity card).

According to Article 14 of the Migration Law, individuals recognized as Oralman are given standard identity cards. Oralman identity cards are documents liable to strict accountability and serve as a basis for the obtainment of benefits and compensations provided for by the Law.

Under the requirement of Paragraph 18 “Certain Issues of Legal Regulation of Residence of Foreign Citizens in the Republic of Kazakhstan” approved by the Enactment of the Government of January 28, 2000 No. 136, individuals permanently residing in the Republic of Kazakhstan are considered as foreign nationals who have obtained relevant authorization as well as residence permits issued by agencies of the interior.

The joint order of the Ministry of the Interior of RK of April 9, 2004 No. 215, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of RK of April 14, 2004 No.08-1/93 and the Chairman of the Agency of Migration and Demography of the Republic of Kazakhstan of April 14, 2004 No. 35-p ratifies the Guideline “On the Procedure for Application of Rules of Entry and

Residence of Foreign Citizens in the Republic of Kazakhstan and Their Departure From the Republic of Kazakhstan and Organization of Activity of Authorities of the Interior on Prevention and Suppression of Illegal Migration of Foreign Citizens on the Territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan.”

In harmony with Paragraph 68 of the mentioned Guidelines, applications for permanent residence permits in the Republic of Kazakhstan by foreign citizens who entered the Republic in accordance with the immigration quota, should be submitted directly to the territorial departments of the Migration Committee of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of RK. In case of simultaneous application by the Oralman for citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan, covered by the Decree of the President of the

Republic of Kazakhstan “On Procedure for Investigation of Issues Related to Citizenship of the Republic of Kazakhstan,” permanent residence documents may not be issued.

Thus, the lack of provisions in the Rules and Procedures ensuring the issue of identity cards to the Oralman, which serve as a basis for the obtainment of appropriate benefits and compensations (housing and other benefits and pensions), to a great extent infringes on the rights of the Oralman.

In addition, it is necessary to introduce amendments and additions to Paragraph 2 of the above-mentioned Rules with the inclusion of the Oralman’s identity document.

One measure which stimulates the repatriation by Kazakhs of their historical homeland is the free provision of land to them for the individual construction of residences.

However, there are frequent violations of the requirements of Articles 405, 502 and 506 of the Tax Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, according to which the Oralman are exempted from state taxes if they have registered their right of real estate and related transactions and have obtained citizenship in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In the city of Almaty and the Almaty, Akmola, Aktyube, Western Kazakhstan, Eastern Kazakhstan, Mangistau and Kostanay regions, instances of the illegal imposing of the state tax on the Oralman have been discovered.

It is necessary to legislatively regulate the allocation of finances from the budget for the Oralman who have relocated to their historical homeland under the migration quota; however, it is also necessary to stipulate the compulsory rate of reimbursement back to the state in case of their voluntary return to their original country.

The Human Rights Commission under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan shares the opinion of the government and strives to promote the process of repatriation of Kazakhs to their historical homeland. In this regard, they are launching a range of ideas aimed at the improvement of governmental policy in the field of migration of the Oralman. The Commission speaks in support of a differentiated approach that takes into consideration the complicity of the problem itself and the need for the coordination of various approaches and positions in this respect. They think that it is necessary to set priorities with regard to the Oralman and give preference to the return of those who went to live abroad unwillingly. Regarding Kazakhs residing in the territories of Russia and Uzbekistan, it is necessary to remember that most of them have been living there for many centuries, although, admittedly, there are many who came to live there during times of revolution and collectivization which resulted in a genuine genocide of the Kazakh nation. According to results of a survey executed by co-workers of the Secretary of the Human Rights Commission under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, in the city of Saint Petersburg, the Saratovsk and Omsk regions, and the city of Omsk, the majority of ethnic Kazakhs residing there prefer to work and live in Russia.
With the goal of protection of the rights of the Oralman during their return to their historical homeland under the immigration quota or outside of it, and to guarantee their social and economic rights, the Human Rights Commission under the Head of State recommends that the Government develop and ratify a separate legislative act that would exempt the Oralman from customs duty during their crossing of the national border, regardless of the quantity of their possessions. In addition, it recommends making related additions to the Migration Law.

It is necessary to make adjustments to the government housing program and to implement a balanced approach with due consideration to the interests of the Oralman as well as other citizens of Kazakhstan. The solution can be found only in the framework of the social partnership of society and the authorities. Caring for the Oralman should not infringe on the interests of other citizens or violate their rights. This situation requires responsibility not only on the part of government, but also agencies of civil society, NGOs, and trade unions. Issues regarding the Oralman are the common problems of society and the government, and their resolution requires the interaction of society and the government. For instance, the issue of adaptation of the Oralman can be settled by means of the establishment of modern integration centers which are to assist people in problems of obtainment of citizenship, employment, and professional education.

With the objective of securing the rights of the Oralman, we recommend that the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan implement the following measures during the years 2009-2011:

  1. With the goal of securing the rights of the Oralman who have not obtained citizenship and have not yet documented their permanent residence in Kazakhstan to receive pensions and other social allowances, make amendments and additions to legislative documents regulating the procedure for payment of pensions, benefits and other social payments, in particular, to the Guidelines on the procedure for the establishment and payment of pensions, state social allowances and state especial allowances from the Center. The list of acceptable documents should include the Oralman’s certificate, which would be the basis for the establishment of pension and benefit payments.
  2. Legislatively establish the minimal pension payment to the Oralman of pension age from those countries with which Kazakhstan has no bilateral agreement regarding pension issues.
  3. Make an addition to Paragraph 2 of the Rules of Documentation and Registration of the Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan approved by the Enactment of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan of July 12, 2000 No. 1063 which includes the Oralman’s certificate as an acceptable identity document.
  4. In an effort to protect the rights of the Oralman upon return to their historical homeland under the immigration quota or outside of it, and to secure their social and economic rights, it is necessary to elaborate and ratify an individual legislative act exempting them from customs duties during their crossing of the national border, regardless of quantity of their belongings. In addition, it is necessary to make corresponding additions to the Law of RK “On Migration of the Population.”
  5. Continuously monitor the implementation of the government program “Nurly Kosh.”
  6. For the purpose of securing the right of the Oralman to housing, develop and implement a mechanism for the provision of affordable housing to the Oralman within the framework of the Government Housing Program.
  7. With the purpose of securing the right of the Oralman to obtainment of citizenship in the Republic of Kazakhstan by means of a simplified procedure, as well as the elimination of all possible conditions for corruption crimes by employees of the Migration Police and governmental authorities, exclude the address certificate from the list of documents required for obtainment of citizenship by the Oralman, which certificate obliges them to regularly register at their place of residence immediately after their move to their historical homeland despite the fact that they have no permanent residence with the right of ownership.
  8. In order to eliminate double citizenship of the Oralman, it is necessary to conclude bilateral intergovernmental agreements with the countries of the original residence of the Oralman, which would ensure that the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Kazakhstan informs corresponding authorized governmental agencies of the foreign countries upon a certain Oralman becoming a citizen of Kazakhstan.