In Focus

PROTECT project “Improving Migration Management in Selected Silk Routes and Central Asian Countries” launches in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

07 March 2024


On 5 March 2024, The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) officially launched the project "Improving Migration Management in Selected Silk Routes and Central Asian Countries,". The project, funded by the European Union, is a testament to the EU and ICMPD's commitment to migration management. It will set up the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) in Osh in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Migration. 

MRC is a physical structure located within Ministry premises to support the government raise awareness on and provide relevant, accurate and timely information on regular migration prospects and the risks of irregular migration. This includes pre-departure information about the countries of destination as well as information on migrants’ rights and responsibilities. 

Osh was selected as the location for the MRC compared to Bishkek given the migration context of Kyrgyzstan. Potential migrants are usually from Osh and neighbouring areas within the Fergana Valley (including Jalal-abad, Batken and Osh regions). Russia is the major destination country for migrants but over the recent years, the government has opened up arrangements for labour migration to East Asia such as South Korea and Japan, to the UK and Türkiye, and selected Gulf Coordinating Council countries. 

Moreover, the project aims to support migration management and governance, ultimately enhancing global labour market competitiveness for Kyrgyz nationals, while safeguarding their rights, well-being, and interests.

To implement the project, ICMPD signed two Memorandum of Understanding with the Kyrgyz Republic. One with the Ministry of Labour during the 2023 Vienna Migration Conference in Austria and the other one with the Council on Migration and THB under the Speaker of the Parliament in 2022.

Dr. Spindelegger said that “the project will also support the management and governance aspect of migration, such as the promotion of skills development for the benefit of Kyrgyz citizens. These are all geared towards ensuring better competitiveness in the global labour market, which subsequently also furthers the protection of workers’ rights and the promotion of their well-being and interest.”

Minister of Labor, Social Security and Migration Gulnara Marishevna Baatyrova said: “The Ministry has been working closely with ICMPD for more than 15 years. Considering the existing problems of migration, a Resource Centre was created, the opening of which was attended by ICMPD Director General Michael Spindelegger and ICMPD Regional Head for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Radim Zak. This centre, established with the support of ICMPD, is intended to provide comprehensive information support for potential migrants.”

Immediately after the MRC opening, strategic planning was conducted to determine the scope of work, priority outreach and partners, and targeted messaging, among others with representatives from governments, civil society and migrant organisations, recruitment agencies, and development agencies.  

Other than the PROTECT project, ICMPD also implements other initiatives in Kyrgyzstan on border management, policy development and capacity building funded by the European Union.

Dr. Spindelegger is in Kyrgyzstan to discuss further cooperation with the government of Kyrgyzstan on various areas of migration management. He conducted the first community outreach and awareness raising for MRC through a forum at Osh State University. He presented on the “role of ICMPD in promoting safe, regular and orderly migration”.

Find more information on MRCs and ICMPD activities in Central Asia here: