COVID-19: Switzerland Supports Project for Vulnerable Migrants in Central Asia

Local news, 17.09.2020

The UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) in cooperation with Central Asian (CA) countries and Russia launched on September 16, 2020, a regional initiative «Mitigating Socio-Economic Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Migrants and Communities in CA and Russia». The initiative is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) with 1 Mio CHF. 

The event gathered more than 100 representatives of Governments, Embassies, NGO, national banks, business communities, academia from six countries and international partners.

Ms. Simone Giger, Head of the Global Program Migration and Development Division of SDC, highlighted the relevance and timeliness of this initiative. She emphasized that millions of families in the CA region rely on remittances sent by migrants from Russia and Kazakhstan to meet their basic needs and support their long-term socio-economic development. Due to the lockdowns caused by COVID-19, migrants lost possibility to send remittances to their families as banks are closed and migrants cannot use digital technologies (smartphones). Ms. Giger also pointed out the importance to identify the most vulnerable migrants, develop and implement support plans, and protect the rights of migrants in vulnerable situations (disrupted travel plans, loss of job and income and limited access to medical service).

In cooperation with initiative partners, IOM will work to remove barriers and facilitate access to remittances.