Staunton, June 20 – Uncertainties about Russia’s willingness to absorb more migrant laborers from Central Asia and the growing importance of their remittances from abroad to national economies mean that Central Asian countries must plan to diversify the countries to which their workers go, according to experts surveyed by the CABAR portal.
Nurbyubyu Kerimova, a senior advisor to the Kyrgyzstan State Migration Service, says that more than one in five Kyrgyz of working age chooses to work abroad. Most come from the republic’s impoverished south and 40 percent are women. If the Russian market continues to decline, it will hurt Kyrgyzstan and its prospects for stability (cabar.asia/ru/trudovaya-migratsiya-iz-tsentralnoj-azii-postoyanno-rasschityvat-na-rossiyu-oshibochnaya-strategiya).
Because of fewer jobs being available in Russia and more opposition there to Central Asian migrants, she continues, ever more Kyrgyz workers are choosing to seek work in Kazakhstan, Europe and the Middle East. Kyrgyz workers are doing so even though they enjoy advantages workers from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan don’t.
Umed Raimdodov, a senior official of Tajikistan’s Research Institute on Labor, Migration and Employment, noted that the number of labor migrants from his country who went to Russia fell by 77 percent last year and to Kazakhstan by 53 percent. As a result, their critical contribution to the national economy fell as well.
He says he expects more Tajik migrant workers to be “squeezed out” of the Russian economy in the coming years. As a result, Dushanbe is promoting the dispatch of those who want to work abroad to Poland, Turkey and Romania, places where few have ever gone in the past.
Temur Umarov, an Uzbek analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, says that the number of Uzbeks working in Russia fell sharply last year and is only slowly recovering. As a result, Tashkent is sending an increasing fraction of its migrant workers to countries over than the Russian Federation.
He says that in order to ensure stability in transfer payments home, Tashkent is organizing the dispatch of Uzbek workers to South Korea, the Middle East, Japan, EU countries and Israel.
And Sergey Abashin, a specialist on migration at St. Petersburg’s European University, says Central Asian countries are wise to make such changes because “the prevailing view” among Russians is that migration from Central Asia should be reduced so that Russians can fill their places in the economy.
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