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New Uzbek Migrant Rules Clog Border

February 20 2013, 12:37

Radio Free Europe

Thousands of Uzbeks have been stuck along the Uzbek-Kazakh border since February 17 as border guards introduced new regulations for labor migrants heading to Kazakhstan.

An official at the Ghishtkuprik checkpoint told RFE/RL on February 19 that Uzbek labor migrants could now cross the border only if they had a work permit in their destination country and a work agreement with a company there.

An official at the Uzbek Interior Ministry told RFE/RL that the new regulations had been introduced to prevent human trafficking.

Hundreds of thousands of Uzbek labor migrants travel to Kazakhstan and Russia each year for seasonal work.

At a cabinet session last month, Uzbekistan's authoritarian President Islam Karimov harshly criticized his interior minister for "his failure to provide Uzbek youths with jobs, which turns them into labor migrants abroad."

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