Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Tajiks Plan Better-Regulated Labour Migration

By Kamar Ahror











The government of Tajikistan has set up a unified migration service to handle all aspects of the outflow of labour which has been a major feature of this Central Asian state in recent years.

Official statistics suggest that last year, around 800,000 people went abroad to work, mainly to Russia. Other estimates put the average annual exodus of mainly seasonal labour at 1.5 million.

Part of the difference between these figures is those workers who enter Russia as illegal immigrants, do not gain residence and working rights, and are not formally recorded as employed. They are especially vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment – and deportation if they get caught.

Always at the bottom of the heap, migrant workers are the first to be made unemployed when, as in recent years, the Russian labour market contracts. The authorities in Russia are also reducing the quota for imported labour.

The new service is to coordinate the flow of legal migrants from Tajikistan, and also to seek common agreements with Russian officials agencies on their status and rights.  

The audio programme, in Russian and Tajik, went out on national radio stations in Tajikistan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.