In 2001-2002, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) presented a detailed analysis of the differences in migration flows from Central Asia to the countries of Eurasia and Europe.

Ten years ago, the EU countries were mainly visited by persons seeking asylum and international protection and a small number of labor migrants, says an article by Olga Gulina, posted on’s website on January 15.  The situation has reportedly changed since then.  Currently, the motives and tendencies of leaving Central Asia for the EU countries are different: people leave in search of work, education, asylum or protection, as well as for family reunification, according to the article.

Labor migration from Central Asian countries to Europe in terms of its quantitative volume is incomparable with migration flows within Eurasia, however, it is this migration that is gradually gaining momentum in numerical ratio.

In 2019, labor employment and hired labor (remuneration activities) reportedly came out on top among the grounds for issuing initial stay permits in the EU for citizens of Uzbekistan (3008 people); Kyrgyzstan (1398 people) and Tajikistan (635 people); in second place after migration for the purpose of obtaining education - for citizens of Turkmenistan (142 people) and in third place after educational and family migration - for citizens of Kazakhstan.

Departure for labor migration from the countries of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is rarely initiated and carried out by citizens from the countries themselves.  Officially, employment assistance in EU countries is provided by government agencies or private recruitment agencies licensed by governments.  According to the Ministry of Labor of Uzbekistan, in 2019, private recruitment agencies sent Uzbek citizens to work in Lithuania (342 people), Latvia (80 people), Poland (38 people), Bulgaria (19 people), Croatia (16 people), Estonia (14 people) and other countries.  Due to the lack of state control over the activities of private agencies, this is a very risky route to work in Europe, often associated with the violation of the rights of Central Asian citizens.

Given the great interest of most Central Asian countries - Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and, to a lesser extent, Kyrgyzstan - in diversifying migration flows, this direction of migration can be actively developed in the coming years.

As far as educational migration is concerned, 4,097 citizens of Kazakhstan, 1,398 citizens of Uzbekistan, 697 citizens of Kyrgyzstan, 335 citizens of Tajikistan and 215 citizens of Turkmenistan in 2019 showed interest in European education. The main countries of admission for the majority of Central Asian students are the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Hungary. 

Departure from the Central Asian states to Europe through family migration, while continuing to grow in quantitative proportion, in the last ten years has been inferior to educational and labor migration in all respects.  In 2019, 2,681 citizens of Kazakhstan left for the EU countries to reunite with their families; 1005 citizens of Uzbekistan (1004 people); 449 citizens of Kyrgyzstan (497 people); 202 citizens of Tajikistan (174 people) and 111 citizens of Turkmenistan (128 people).

The main destination for family reunification travel for all Central Asian countries, except Uzbekistan, has been and remains Germany, which has been supporting the program for the return of ethnic Germans and their descendants for many years.  The peak of the success of the German repatriation program came in 1991-1995, when 2,523,961 ethnic Germans left the territory of the newly independent states, including the countries of Central Asia, and became full citizens of Germany.  Their descendants, albeit in smaller numbers, continue to reunite in Germany.

It is expected that in the coming years, family migration as a channel for leaving the Central Asian countries to the EU countries will be exhausted, although it will not stop altogether.

Regardless of the migration goals and expectations, the outbound directions of migrants from Central Asia to the EU, as before, do not differ much. In 2010-2019, the largest number of residences permits for citizens of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan were issued by the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland; citizens of Tajikistan - Germany, Poland and Sweden; citizens of Turkmenistan - Germany, Poland and Romania, and for citizens of Uzbekistan - Poland, Latvia and the Czech Republic.