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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Operational Movements in Central Asia

Since 1951 IOM is playing an important role in resettlement around the world. Four IOM Missions in Central Asia: IOM Kazakhstan, IOM Kyrgyzstan, IOM Tajikistan and IOM Turkmenistan are involved in arranging safe, orderly and cost effective movement of refugees, migrants and other persons of concern to the Organization to the countries of their destinations.

Leading resettlement countries for refugees from Central Asia are the United States, Canada and the Nor­dic countries.

IOM Missions in Central Asia work closely with Governments, the Unit­ed High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-government or­ganizations. UNHCR is the main referring agency for resettlement cases, although, under some cir­cumstances, countries may refer individuals and families directly to IOM for resettlement.

IOM Central Asian resettlement as­sistance includes the following ac­tivities:

  • Processing travel documents and exit permissions, according to the requirements of the de­parture country to facilitate the safe and proper transfer of refu­gees across the international borders all the way up to their destination country
  • Medical screening to ensure that refugees meet the require­ments of the host country and are fit to travel.
  • Movement assistance including transporting refugees from country of location to their re­ceiving countries, providing transit and departure assistance and arranging arrangement of medical or non-medical escorts where required.

Facilitating migration – visa services

IOM offices in Kazakhstan, Kyr­gyzstan and Tajikistan facilitate the submission of applications for Ca­nadian temporary and permanent residence visas and immigrant ap­plications under skilled worker and family class programs. The Cana­dian Embassy in Moscow, Russian Federation is in charge of issuing visas and travel documents for Cen­tral Asian Region, and IOM Missions in Central Asia provide the follow­ing services for participants in the programme to emigrate to Canada:

  • distribute information on rele­vant requirements as published by the Embassy;
  • provide the contact details and web site addresses of the Em­bassy;
  • assist in visa/immigration ap­plication package completion;
  • translate supporting docu­ments;
  • return passports with immigra­tion decisions and inform appli­cants accordingly;
  • offer discounted one way air­fares for persons admitted to Canada for permanent stay.

IOM Mission in Kazakhstan provides similar services to citizens of Uz­bekistan.

Assisted voluntary return and re­integration

Assisted Voluntary Return is an area of expertise that IOM has devel­oped over more than 25 years of experience and is offered by IOM to migrants. It aims at orderly, hu­mane and cost-effective return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of ori­gin. During the last ten years around 740 000 migrants have received IOM’s AVR assistance to over 160 countries. With its global network of over 255 offices in countries of origin, transit, and destination, IOM is well placed to develop and man­age comprehensive approaches to voluntary return migration.

IOM offices in Central Asia are pro­viding arrival and reintegration as­sistance to returnees under AVR programmes conducted by IOM Missions in the main countries of return, which include Belgium, Nor­way, Finland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.



The Mission of the International Or­ganization for Migration in the Kyr­gyz Republic provides humanitarian assistance to migrants, refugees and internally displaced people. In close cooperation with receiving states and UNHCR, IOM provides assistance in the resettlement of refugees and migrants who have been approved for immigration. IOM provides assistance only in ac­cordance with request of Embassies and ensures that its movement ac­tivities correspond to requirements and constitution of the receiving country.

One of the largest continuing IOM resettlement projects is the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (US­RAP), funded by the Department of State/Bureau of Population, Refu­gees, and Migration (DOS/PRM). Within the framework of this proj­ect, the Mission of IOM in the Kyr­gyz Republic provides efficient and effective field operation services, including medical, cultural orien­tation and movement services. For the period from 2005 to 2010 486 refugees have been resettled to USA under this program.

IOM is also involved in the process of resettlement of refugees and mi­grants to other countries, such as Canada, Australia, Sweden, Nether­lands and Denmark. Resettlement of refugees and migrants, including family re-unification, is implement­ed only upon request of the rel­evant Embassy and in compliance with relevant agreements between IOM and respective countries. Ac­cording to these agreements, IOM field missions are responsible for transportation of refugees and mi­grants, including planning of the departure process, receiving of travel documents and exit visas, in­forming the accepting parties, gov­ernments and agencies, providing transit assistance and other logisti­cal support; and providing cultural orientation and migration health services. For the period from 2005-2010, 643 refugees and migrants have been resettled to European countries, such as Sweden, Neth­erlands, Denmark, France, UK, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Czech Republic, Romania; 226 refugees and migrants have been resettled to Canada and 62 refugees and migrants have been resettled to Australia. IOM also facilitates migration by providing air tickets to migrants under global IOM agreements with several airline companies. Under this activity, 485 migrants departed to Canada and USA from 2005 to 2010.

Canada visa assistance project

Citizenship and Immigration Cana­da represented by the Embassy of Canada in Moscow concluded an agreement with International Or­ganization for Migration in Bishkek regarding improvement of custom­er services provided to citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic and residents of other CIS countries, who wish to apply for a visa to the Embassy of Canada in Moscow. IOM provides services including receipt of appli­cation forms and payment of visa fees to the Embassy of Canada in Moscow from applicants for perma­nent and temporary visas. IOM also include submits passports to the Embassy of Canada in Moscow, no­tarizes and translates documents, provides general information on CIC requirements for the Skilled Worker Program, checks applica­tions to ensure they have been cor­rectly completed and informs appli­cants about the eventual decision of the Embassy of Canada. Decision on necessity to apply via IOM office in Bishkek is voluntary: applicants can submit their applications for visas to the Embassy of Canada in Moscow personally or through au­thorized persons. During the period from 2007 to 2010 Mission of IOM in the Kyrgyz Republic processed approximately 1000 applicants/cases.

Assisted voluntary return and rein­tegration

Assisted Voluntary Return and Re­integration Programmes (AVRRP) are one of the core activities of IOM. Through this program, IOM provides reintegration assistance to migrants who are returning to their home country. Assisted Vol­untary Return and Reintegration activities include organizational and financial assistance for the re­turnee, and, where possible, provi­sion of reintegration measures to the returnee. There are 3 stages in AVRR: pre-departure assistance and travel preparations; assistance with the actual trip home; post-arrival assistance for the socio-economic reinstallation and reintegration of returnees. The Mission of IOM in the Kyrgyz Republic provides assis­tance to returnees on the 3rd stage of AVRR per request of IOM sending mission. The post-arrival assistance consists of reception assistance at the airport, providing of initial post-arrival information, disbursement of reintegration grants to return­ees, organization of onward travel to the final destination, provision of further reintegration assistance, if needed, including monitoring. For the period from 2008-2010 years, Mission of IOM in the Kyrgyz Re­public assisted to returnees from such countries as Belgium, Finland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


Canada Visa Application Centre

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