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How to Overcome the Existing Practice of Illegal Migration from Tajikistan?

«Measures to increase the efficiency of foreign labour migration should be taken at the national level, which will, after all, create a totally different socio-economic situation in the Republic of Tajikistan», – Bekhruz Saidov, a Dushanbe-based participant of the School of Analytics CABAR.asia, writes in his article.

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Today labour migration and other things relating to migrant workers from Tajikistan are a relevant issue. The majority of researchers and experts in various fields, politicians, economists, media workers and ordinary citizens discuss labour migration issues quite knowledgeably. It’s quite explainable because the scope of labour migration steadily tends to grow and concern, to various extents, every Tajik family.

Every year citizens of Tajikistan leave the country for labour migration, mainly to the Russian Federation. The main attracting factor for migrant workers in Russia is its economic advantage compared to other CIS countries.

Main directions of labour migration from the Republic of Tajikistan in 2014-2017

The key factors of migrant workers leaving Tajikistan for Russia are the crisis in the labour market of the republic, lack of sufficient number of jobs, low salary of workforce, increase in the number of able-bodied citizens, which create a big load on the underdeveloped labour market of the country.

Illegal labour migration

Today one of the key problems of Tajik migrant workers is their illegal labour in the Russian Federation.

Young people aged 15-29 years old leave Tajikistan for Russia right after graduation from high school, without knowledge of the Russian language, without any special vocational (or higher) education. Photo: knews.kg
As there is a known share of people who don’t observe the rules of staying in the host country in the real migration flow, the host country’s social institutes and authorities apply particular sanctions to them for their violations.

Thus, for example, the Federal Law of Russia No. 114 dated August 15, 1996 “On the procedure for leaving and entering the Russian Federation”[2] specifies rules, which ban the entry of foreign citizens and stateless persons to Russia.

The reason for banned entry to Russia is a decision on undesirable stay (residence) in Russia of a foreign citizen or a stateless person.

The Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Decree No. 94 dated February 14, 2007 “On state information system of migration registration” in order to register foreign citizens or stateless persons staying (residing) in Russia[3]. It is an interagency automated system of registration of foreign citizens who stay temporarily or reside permanently in Russia, as well as a database of employed foreign citizens.

This system has a few goals, one of which is to generate full, reliable and relevant information about movements of foreign citizens and about their employment. This is necessary to assess the migration situation in Russia, to develop and implement measures designed to regulate migration processes in Russia.

According to the system, the number of Tajik citizens banned from entry to Russia for the violation of laws of the Russian Federation reached 226 thousand as of September 2018[4].

The banned entry has such negative consequences as:

– decrease in the amount of immigrant remittances and deterioration of socioeconomic situation in Tajikistan;

– increase in the number of unemployed in Tajikistan due to the lack of jobs and low salary.

A visit of Emomali Rakhmon to Moscow

On April 16-17, 2019, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon made his first in 12 years official visit to the Russian Federation.

Following the negotiations between the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, 17 agreements were signed in various segments of developments of both states[6].

Also, during the visit, the leader of Tajikistan wanted to ensure pardon for Tajik migrant workers banned from entry to Russia[7]. Unfortunately, the high-level talks emphasised the need to create some favourable conditions for life and work of Tajik citizens in the Russian Federation[8], without a reference to the “pardon”. 

Tajik labour migration in figures

As practice shows, mainly young people aged 15-29 years old leave Tajikistan for Russia right after graduation from high school, without knowledge of the Russian language, without any special vocational (or higher) education. The average age of migrant workers is 30.6 years old.

Young people become migrant workers following the recommendations of their relatives, acquaintances, friends, who have been migrant workers in Russia for many years. Meanwhile, the majority of Tajik citizens who invite their compatriots are working illegally in Russia.

The age of migrant workers from the Republic of Tajikistan in 2014-2017

According to various estimates, the number of migrant workers from Tajikistan working in Russia is about 1.2 million people[10]. In 2018, 31 thousand people entered Russia from Tajikistan, which made it the first by the number of migrant workers arrived in Russia. According to the Russian ministry of the interior, 471 thousand work patents were issued to them last year.

As practice shows, the professional level of Tajik migrant workers demonstrates a low level of the workforce. The majority of migrant workers before departure do not have any profession, or have offbeat jobs. Meanwhile, they think that getting a profession abroad would help them find a more prestigious and high-paying job in future.

However, more migrants want to get the most in-demand profession, yet are unaware of how to acquire it in a short time. Migrant workers who acquire knowledge and skills in construction abroad need to have a document proving their qualifications, which gives them an opportunity to find a high-paying job.

The number of migrant workers leaving the Republic of Tajikistan (thousand people) in 2014-2017

In this regard, it should be mentioned that the Centre for Adult Training is functioning in Dushanbe and has good equipment due to the grants issued and branches in all regions and in most regional centres of the republic.

However, this centre is used neither by city and regional departments of the Tajik Agency for Social Protection, Employment and Migration, nor by particular industrial enterprises that could refer not only registered unemployed people but also young workers to the Centre to get a necessary qualification or for further training. It would help not only meet city, regional demands for qualified workforce, but also improve the quality of professional pre-departure training of prospective migrant workers.

Findings and recommendations

Given the relevance and importance of solving the foreign labour migration problem, and the need for its comprehensive settlement, the state and the society keep raising questions related to the optimisation of the migration situation, the use of benefits and solution of negative aspects of on-going migration processes.

Therefore, we suggest the following to reach effective results in this regard:

First of all, labour migration today acts as a key factor of poverty reduction in the country. Measures to increase the efficiency of foreign labour migration should be taken at the national level, i.e. the overwhelming majority of migrants should be legalised, decent working and household conditions should be created for them, they should be protected legally, which will, after all, create a totally different socio-economic situation in the Republic of Tajikistan.

Second, the authorised ministries and agencies and national airlines should work comprehensively to raise awareness and consult the citizens so that the citizens who are banned from staying (residing) in Russia could obtain information in Tajikistan before their re-entry to Russia. However, efforts made in this direction so far are inappropriate.

Also, informative sessions should be arranged and held among people to raise their awareness and to consult them on labour migration issues, legislation of the Russian Federation, and on getting information before their departure to Russia.

Third, a public database of employed citizens of Tajikistan should be generated, and the system of monitoring and evaluation of their activities should be improved. A special platform where migrant workers would register their daily activities should be created to allow the authorities responsible for employment to monitor their activities abroad.

Fourth, the majority of migrant workers are young people, who don’t have enough proficiency and leave for labour migration, and some people who have qualifications, but cannot find a job based on their qualifications. Therefore, the regions of the republic should organise free of charge short-terms courses before departure, including, for example, construction courses, Russian language course, and migration law course.  Also, a system should be developed to restrict unskilled citizens from leaving for labour migration.

Fifth, given the share of migrant workers in the solution of economic and social problems in Tajikistan, migrant workers’ social support issues must be considered, including their social insurance, various forms of relief in case of disease, disability or loss of work.

Sixth, the representation office of the Migration Service at the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan in Russia should be expanded, and other such offices should be considered for opening in other countries, as necessary.


This article was prepared as part of the Giving Voice, Driving Change – from the Borderland to the Steppes Project implemented with the financial support of the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The opinions expressed in the article do not reflect the position of the editorial or donor.


Sources:

  1. The analysis of socioeconomic problems of returning migrant workers in the Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe-2018

https://www.osiaf.tj/wp-content/uploads/1рус-Итоговый-отчет-финал-08.02.2018.-corrected-1.pdf

  1. Federal law “On the procedure for leaving and entering the Russian Federation” dated 15.08.1996 N 114-ФЗ (last version) http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_11376/
  2. Decree of the government of the Russian Federation No.94 dated February 14, 2007 “On state information system of migration registration”

http://base.garant.ru/190665/

  1. Monograph “Labour migration in the structure of social and labour relations in the Republic of Tajikistan”. – Dushanbe, 2016.
  2. Labour migration issues: challenges and prospects. Collection of research conference, – Dushanbe: “Centre for strategic studies at the President of the Republic of Tajikistan”, 2013  – 232 p.
  3. Labour migration in the Republic of Tajikistan: the problem, its influence on the society, and ways of regulation, – Dushanbe: “ER-graf”, 2013  – 90 p.

Internet sources

  1. https://tj.sputniknews.ru/analytics/20190415/1028564089/migranty-tajikistan-mirovaya-ekonomika-rabochie-ruki.html
  2. https://rus.ozodi.org/a/tajikistan-migrants-workers-money/29756289.html
  3. https://www.ozodi.org/a/tajik-migrants-in-russia/29675421.htms
  4. https://russian.eurasianet.org/таджикистан-россия-рахмон-просит-путина-амнистировать-депортированных-мигрантов
  5. http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60305
  6. http://www.cis.minsk.by/news.php?id=11004

[1] The analysis of socioeconomic problems of  returning migrant workers in the Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe-2018 https://www.osiaf.tj/wp-content/uploads/1рус-Итоговый-отчет-финал-08.02.2018.-corrected-1.pdf

[2] Federal law “On the procedure for leaving and entering the Russian Federation” dated 15.08.1996 N 114-ФЗ (last version)  http://www.consultant.ru/document/cons_doc_LAW_11376/

[3] The government of the Russian Federation issued a decree No. 94 on February 14, 2007 “On stat e information system of migration registration” http://base.garant.ru/190665/

[4] Ubaidulloyev: The fate of 345 thousand Tajik migrants in Russia remains unknown, 2018,  https://www.ozodi.org/a/tajik-migrants-in-russia/29675421.htms 

[5] Russian-Tajik negotiations http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60305 17.04.2019

[6] The official visit of the president of Tajikistan E.Rakhmon to the Russian Federation http://www.cis.minsk.by/news.php?id=11004 17.04.2019

[7] Tajikistan-Russia: Rakhmon asks Putin to pardon removed migrants

https://russian.eurasianet.org/таджикистан-россия-рахмон-просит-путина-амнистировать-депортированных-мигрантов 19.04.2019

[8] ibid

[9] The analysis of socioeconomic problems of  returning migrant workers in the Republic of Tajikistan, Dushanbe-2018 https://www.osiaf.tj/wp-content/uploads/1рус-Итоговый-отчет-финал-08.02.2018.-corrected-1.pdf

[10] In five years the flow of migrants from Tajikistan to foreign countries dropped by 40% https://rus.ozodi.org/a/tajikistan-migrants-workers-money/29756289.html    07.02.2019 г.

[11] ibid https://www.osiaf.tj/wp-content/uploads/1рус-Итоговый-отчет-финал-08.02.2018.-corrected-1.pdf

[12] Where to sell the labour: Tajik migrants in the global economy

 https://tj.sputniknews.ru/analytics/20190415/1028564089/migranty-tajikistan-mirovaya-ekonomika-rabochie-ruki.html 15.04.2019

[13] Tajikistan-Russia: Rakhmon asks Putin to pardon removed migrants

https://russian.eurasianet.org/таджикистан-россия-рахмон-просит-путина-амнистировать-депортированных-мигрантов 19.04.2019

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