Uzbekistan reports a big decline in Russia-bound labour migrants

Uzbekistan reports a big decline in Russia-bound labour migrants
Uzbekistan expects up to 11 million tourists this year. / Photo: Jama Sadikov/Wikipedia
By Eurasianet June 5, 2024

In terms of the movement of people, there seems to be a lot more coming than going in Uzbekistan these days. Officials in Tashkent are reporting a surge in tourism and a steep decline in labour migration. 

Uzbek media is reporting the annual number of Uzbek labour migrants seeking work in Russia has fallen to about one million from an average in excess of four million a decade ago.  According to presidential spokesman Sherzod Asadov, the decline reflects “the effectiveness of ongoing economic reforms.” President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s administration has also implemented a new regulatory framework designed to better manage labour flows, expand state support for unskilled labourers and steer job seekers toward higher paying positions outside of Russia.

Elsewhere, official data in Kyrgyzstan also indicates the number of citizens seeking work abroad has declined. In April of this year, the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry reported that over 655,000 Kyrgyz nationals were living abroad, most of them labour migrants. During the same month in 2022, over 837,000 citizens were living and/or working abroad. 

Back in Uzbekistan, a presidential press service statement indicated that the country could attract up to 11mn tourists this year, generating potentially $2.5bn for the economy. In 2019, prior to the covid pandemic, Uzbekistan attracted 6.75mn tourists.

Mirziyoyev met with Uzbek industry representatives on June 3, after which he agreed to establish a business council for the promotion of tourism. 

Authorities are additionally planning an advertising campaign to promote Uzbekistan as a tourist destination. Part of the promotional strategy will involve state-sponsored tours for social media influencers with mass audiences. State agencies are also examining ways to simplify the system for obtaining electronic visas, and to develop apps that make it easier for tourists to get around, according to the presidential statement.

This article first appeared on Eurasianet here.