In spite of the current gloom-and-doom economic atmosphere in Kazakhstan, Astana is pushing ahead with costly plans to lure migrants with cultural links to the country, mainly ethnic Kazakhs.
Kazakhstan's budget has come under increasing pressure in recent months, prompting the government to put together a series of crisis-prevention measures. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. But officials so far are giving no thought to scaling back its resettlement programs. The state has long pursued policies aimed at enticing ethnic Kazakhs living abroad to return to what is described as their "historical homeland." And even as it cuts back elsewhere, the government went ahead with an ambitious $1.3 billion program to accelerate and expand inward migration to address demographic problems and skills shortages.
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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.