Message from IOM
for Central Asia

We live in an age of unprecedented human mobility. Migration is considered one of the defining global issues of the early twenty-first century, with more and more people on the move today than at any other point in history


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Technical Cooperation and Border Management in Central Asia

Technical cooperation and border management is one of IOM’s key service areas in Cen­tral Asia, with border management having emerged from historical needs as the main focus of this particular programmatic area in the region. IOM Central Asia has extensive experience in implementing border management projects since 1999.

IOM has been involved in several regional initiatives, the most rep­resentative of which include the EU-funded Border Management in Central Asia (BOMCA) programme, implemented by UNDP, as well as a regional project focused on border management and law enforcement agencies.

The priority issues for IOM Central Asia’s technical cooperation and border management programme include:

  • Promoting and facilitating legal movement of people and goods across the borders while deter­ring illegal border operations and irregular migration;
  • Promoting trans-border cooper­ation among the region includ­ing Afghanistan;
  • Supporting governments in building effective border and migration management sys­tems through capacity building;
  • Addressing migration challeng­es and security concerns in the region by regularizing border management services accord­ing to international best prac­tices;
  • Building national capacities for effective migration data collec­tion and sharing.

Given these priorities, IOM Central Asia looks to attain the following objectives within the technical co­operation and border management programme:

  • Improve the policy, legislation and administrative structures for migration and border man­agement, promoting and pro­tecting migrants rights while ensuring sovereign rights of states to protect their borders;
  • Strengthen government capac­ity to deal with labour migra­tion, human and drug traffick­ing, smuggling and terrorism;
  • Upgrade border and migration information systems, supported by proper procedures and tech­nical capacity for securely issu­ing and handling identity and travel documents.

IOM’s contributions to strengthen­ing the border management system in Central Asia can be divided into the following three main catego­ries:


Needs assessment and policy recommendations. Assessment of the border crossing check­points, including evaluation of the existing passport and visa systems, as well as integrated information systems. Compre­hensive assessments at land, rail and airport checkpoints are also designed to identify needs and provide recommendations for institutional, policy and pro­cedural improvements and re­forms;

Infrastructure support. Procure­ment of border control equip­ment, as well as construction or renovation of the border checkpoints and training facili­ties, including establishment of on-site training rooms at the border. This work involves close cooperation with central border officers training institutions and providing and equipping them with training rooms and rel­evant facilities to provide front line officers with an opportunity to upgrade their professional skills;

Professional capacity-building. Development and implementa­tion of skills and other training courses, which includes cross border seminars, assistance with development of training curricula, such as handbooks and manuals on various aspects of border control and manage­ment. Translation into Russian of the EU Schengen Acquis and other relevant documents re­lated to the project scope.


IOM’s first Border Management Project in Kyrgyzstan was launched in 1999. From 1999 through 2002 IOM provid­ed the Border Service of the Kyrgyz Republic with its first Automated Border Management Information System: IAMIS (Inter-Agency Migration Information System).

Since the implementation of this project, IOM Kyrgyzstan has imple­mented several projects in the tech­nical cooperation and border man­agement programmatic area. IOM’s main achievements are:

Needs assessment and policy rec­ommendations

Assisted the Kyrgyz Government in the design, printing and adoption of a new visa system that improves se­curity and incorporates anti-coun­terfeiting measures.

Assisted the Kyrgyz Government in establishing an automated passport production and issuance system. Old Kyrgyz passports had minimal security features and were easy to counterfeit. The new system intro­duced two different identity docu­ments: ID cards for internal use and passports for international travels. New passports fully correspond to international standards, and have sophisticated security features and machine readable fields (2004 – 2006).

Infrastructure support

Installation of IAMIS (Inter-Agency Migration Information System) at a number of international border crossing checkpoints selected as pi­lot project sites. Equipment of pilot sites with hardware and software to run IAMIS. IAMIS allows the Bor­der Service to enter information on border crossings electronically into a centralized database. This data is registered and saved for future use. All relevant ministries and agen­cies (Border Authorities, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affair) can input information into IAMIS. The software has a “black list” function preventing the entry of unauthorized travelers.

Expansion of IAMIS infrastructure to Osh airport and border check­points at Irkeshtam and Torugart on the Kyrgyz-Chinese border, Karamyk (Kyrgyz – Tajik border) and Kaindy (Kyrgyz-Kazakh border)

Provision of equipment to the in­ternational airport in Bishkek and selected international border cross­ing checkpoints. The equipment in­cluded: communication and com­puter equipment, vehicles, furniture and inspection and communication hardware and software.

Refurbishment and equipment of the Interagency Training Centre (2004)

Improvement of physical infrastruc­ture of the crossing points along the border with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Kaindy railway border crossing was refurbished, modu­lar buildings for border personnel installed and border inspection and control equipment provided. Later on Dostuk, Bekabad, Chaldy­bar international border crossings were completely refurbished (since 2005). The interventions included refurbishment of passport control/inspection areas, foot and vehicle traffic areas, overhang roofs, power supply, road pavement, offices, fur­niture, and equipment.

Provision of support to the Border Service Training Centre, including purchase of training equipment to teach employees how to inspect passports and IDs, how to use pass­port readers and how to detect fraudulent documents.

Professional capacity-building

Conduct of training seminars, lec­tures, workshops and study tours for the Border Service. These activities enabled personnel to share experi­ences and benefit from internation­al best practices (2003-2004).

Support the expansion of the li­brary at the Border Service Training Centre by purchasing modern train­ing materials, manuals, and books.

Development, translation and dis­tribution of visa management man­uals for Consular Service


Canada Visa Application Centre

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