Kazakhstan Replaces Russia As Destination For Uzbek Migrants

Uzbekistan has become the greatest recipient of remittances from Kazakhstan. In 2023 Uzbeks sent home $588 million earned in the economy of their Central Asian neighbor, with about 80% of cross-border transfers made through the Zolotaya Korona system. Russia, Turkey, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan made up the top five.

According to World Bank data for 2023, remittances sent by Uzbeks living abroad amounted to 17.8% of the country’s GDP. Earlier, the Central Bank of Uzbekistan reported that in 2023 the volume of remittances from Russia had decreased by almost half. Last year Uzbeks sent home 41.7% less money from Russia than in 2022, falling to $8.58 billion from $14.7 billion in 2022. This redistribution of remittances is due to Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine, and migrant workers’ ensuing fear of becoming trapped in a war zone. As a consequence, significantly fewer Uzbek migrants are going to work in Russia — and many more are going to neighboring Kazakhstan. In just the first half of 2023 the number of migrant workers who registered in Russia decreased by 43% — to 1.7 million people from 2.9 million at the end of 2022.

According to statistics as of September 1, 2023, there are 2,002 officially registered migrant workers from Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan, which is 13% of the total number of workers from foreign countries. Only China sends more foreign workers into Kazakhstan, at 26% of the total.

This year, remittances to Uzbekistan will grow by 10-15%, to $12-$12.5 billion, according to a forecast by the Central Bank of Uzbekistan. This, the bank believes, will be facilitated by favorable conditions for safe and legal migration, including improvements in travel routes and work-visa regimes from Uzbekistan to foreign countries.


Times of Central Asia