Photo: IOM / Elyor Nematov 2018.

Migration data in Central Asia

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Historically known for being part of the Silk Road trade route which facilitated the movement of goods and people between Europe and Asia, Central Asia had an estimated population of 75.9 million people as of mid-year 2021 (UN DESA, 2022). As of mid-year 2020, there were an estimated 5.6 million international migrants in the five Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.[1] Nearly nine per cent of the international migrant stock hosted in Central Asia were from within the sub-region (UN DESA, 2020).

Globally, there were 7.8 million international migrants from Central Asian countries as of mid-year 2020. Of these, 63 per cent (4.9 million) were in the Russian Federation, followed by 17 per cent (1.3 million) in Germany and 7 per cent (529 thousand) in Ukraine as of mid-year 2020 (UN DESA, 2020). In 2020, between 10 per cent and 16 per cent of the economically active population of Central Asia was living outside of their country of origin, primarily in the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan (IOM, 2020). The Central Asia-Russian Federation migration corridor is one of the most significant labour migration corridors in the world (IOM, 2021a), with the Russian Federation hosting an estimated 6.6 million international migrants from Central Asia in 2020 (Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation, 2021). The numbers and shares might have changed since February 2022 due to the Russian war in Ukraine.