Kazakhstan Must Seek to Repatriate 1.5 Million Kazakhs from China, Kazakh Analyst Says
Staunton, January 25 – China says it
will allow 2,000 ethnic Kazakhs from Xinjiang to emigrate to Kazakhstan, and
Kazakhstan has an annual quota of 2500 such immigrants. But those figures are a
drop in the bucket, Kazakh political analyst Aydos Sarym says, given that there
are some 1.5 million ethnic Kazakhs in China that Astana must attract home.
Most of the Kazakhs from China will want to
settle near where their families came from, in the villages of the southern and
eastern portions of the country, or in the big cities. But the oralmans, as these people are called,
need to be encouraged to move to the northern part of the republic which will
otherwise see a dangerous depopulation with the exit of ethnic Russians.
Many in Kazakhstan are afraid of
such mass immigration, fearful that the returnees will be more nationalist than
those who never left and thus destabilize the situation or that they will be
less skilled than Kazakhs already here and become a burden. But such fears are
overstated, Sarym says. Kazakhstan needs people and not just IT workers.
China is the largest potential pool
of immigrants, he continues, and Beijing has an interest in getting rid of
Kazakhs whom it finds more difficult to assimilate than other groups.But Astana must also be on the lookout for
other opportunities to attract ethnic Kazakhs back to Kazakhstan.