DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tajik officials say the number of Tajik migrant workers who left to Russia and other countries in the first half of 2016 has dropped by nearly 7 percent compared to the same period last year, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported.
Tajik Labor and Migration Minister Sumangul Taghoizoda said on July 22 that the majority of Tajik migrant workers had gone to Russia, where their number is estimated to be at least 870,000.
Speaking to reporters in Dushanbe, Taghoizoda said the decline in labor migration is connected to the financial crisis in Russia, the weakening of the country’s currency, as well as Russia’s tough new regulations for migrants.
Taghoizoda also said that 436 Tajik citizens had died in Russia from January to June. The deaths included those killed in workplace and traffic accidents, illnesses, and racist attacks.
Taghoizoda added that more than 6,000 Tajik migrants had gone to Kazakhstan in the first six months of 2016 to seek work.
The income of many households in Tajikistan comes from migrants’ earnings abroad and money remittances back home. Until recently, Tajik labour migrants were transferring up to $4 billion annually to their home country. With the economic slowdown in Russia, that figure fell to about $1.2 billion in 2015.
According to the Central Bank of Russia, in the first quarter of 2016 money remittances from Russia to Tajikistan amounted to $103 million and decreased by 71 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.