Belarus: Migrant recruitment ‘to ‘exploit’ migrants’

Image copyright AFP Image caption Security services have created a network of 163 “safe exit centres”

Security services in Belarus are using a recruitment drive by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security as a cover to exploit migrant workers, a local MP has warned.

An Afghan migrant working in Minsk was killed last week in what police described as a hit-and-run.

The victim had claimed that an “unknown person” tried to take his passport, and that he wanted to return to his country.

But Kygor Puchulayev, head of the parliament’s security committee, said police were recruiting migrants as “bait”.

“Police can recruit people who are threatening their employers, who will do whatever is necessary to hold their employers’ hands,” Mr Puchulayev said.

“And all they need to do is fill out the requisite form, which offers them the opportunity to return to Afghanistan after signing a document indicating they want to return.”

Image copyright REUTERS Image caption Migrants hand in passports at the safe exit centres to be checked by security services

The Afghan migrant, whose name has not been released, was shot dead at a bus station in the Belarusian capital.

A local health centre on the scene said he died of a bullet wound to the head.

This is the first reported case of such a killing of an Afghan in Minsk since the country broke ties with Russia in the 1980s, and the first known killing of an Afghan migrant in Belarus since 2001.

Crimea-based migrant labour syndicates operating in Eastern Europe make large sums of money on recruitment and trafficking.

In Belarus, there have been reports of “invisible” immigration authorities and of a network of agents, with migrant workers given bogus company contracts.

In November, a Ukrainian press report said that some corrupt Belarusian police were sharing their status as security service officers with illegal migrant labour gangs.

Earlier this month, Swedish lawmakers voted to legalise hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, a decision that could lead to up to 400,000 new migrants.

In total, the EU will welcome at least 754,000 asylum seekers by the end of 2020.

Leave a Comment