Tajikistan: three reasons of guest workers' returning home

Tajikistan Materials 11 June 2009 13:08 (UTC +04:00)

Galim Faskhutdinov, Deutsche Welle

The number of Tajik guest workers in Russia falls. The volume of remittances to Tajikistan threatens to fall by 50 percent. Experts believe the Tajik migrants' key problem is their narrow specialization.

Volume of the Tajik migrants' transfers has decreased by one third in this spring. This assessment belongs to many analytical services in Tajikistan. In doing so, the experts give different data on the number of Tajik guest workers abroad. According to the Labor Ministry, while 800,000 people worked in Russian in 2008, but now their number has decreased to 600,000.

Narrow professional orientation

In Tajikistan, a survey was conducted amongst 6,000 migrant workers who returned to motherland. Almost all of them have worked in large metropolitan areas in central and western part of Russia. Some 32 percent of respondents linked their return to the global crisis. The crisis affected people in different ways. Some 23 percent of respondents said that after the dismissal, they could not find a job in the host country. Some of the respondents connected their return to their home with non-payment of wages within three months. Commenting on the results of the survey, the deputy director of the Central Asian branch of the Institute of CIS countries Aza Migranyan considered narrow specialization as a key problem of Tajik migrants. "The Tajik migrants worked in the field of construction. And, of course - said economist Aza Migranyan - the emergence of a financial crisis in the first place, resulting in stopping the construction sector of the Russian economy, namely the painfully hit Tajik migrants.

I would be turners, let them teach me

These problems could be taken into account, she believes. "In Kyrgyzstan, migrants have chosen a different niche. This is the service sector, small and medium-sized businesses, as well as trade. This crisis is reflected in more flexible ways. Therefore, Kyrgyz migrants return home for a much lesser extent than in Tajikistan," the analyst said.

Among Tajik guest workers, especially the recent wave, not all can boast with the qualifications, said a leading specialist of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of Tajikistan Firuz Saidov. "Every year in Tajikistan, 90,000 people remain without qualifications. Of those, 50 percent remain even without a secondary education," the expert said.

All strive for the center

Some 97 percent of Tajik migrants or about 700,000 people now work in Russia. Over 200,000 of them have chosen the Central and Northwest regions. Slightly less than 100,000 work in the cities of the Urals. At the same time, less than 10,000 Tajiks are in the Far East. Basing on these indicators, the geographical vector of migration has a very narrow focus, said Firuz Saidov. "We have to change the geography of migration. It is necessary to conclude an agreement between the employers that some of our migrant workers worked in the Far East, Siberia, the oil and gas companies," the Tajik expert said.

Saidov stresses that the Tajik people's migration will continue for at least several decades. Each year, able-bodied population in the country increases by 140,000-150,000 people. The state cannot provide this number of population with jobs. Therefore, the Tajik analyst said, "we must examine the labor market in the Russian Federation and, in this regard, guide professional education." Experts estimate that money transfers from migrants will decrease by about one and a half billion dollars by late 2009.

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