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Job woes hit migrant workers in Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on July 13, 2009

migrant home from russia
Migrant workers have been crowding trains home from Moscow

Millions of migrant workers live in Russia, with many of them coming from Central Asia, especially Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

This has led to a big reduction in the amount of money sent back to Central Asia. Tajikistan relies on such remittances for around one-third of its income, but the International Organisation for Migration says Tajik remittances could fall by up to 30% this year.But since the onset of the global economic crisis many of them have lost their jobs.

Martin Vennard has been speaking to Central Asians in Moscow about their situation.

Bakhtiyor, 22, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

I’ve been working in Moscow for 18 months now. I do maintenance and building work in one of the city’s main parks, Kolomenskoye.

Bakhtiyor, 22, Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Bakhtiyor feels lucky to still have a job in Moscow

I share a two-roomed flat with up to five other migrant workers.

I earn about 18,000 roubles ($600) a month and send my parents about 15,000 roubles.

I do this job all year round, but it’s not too hard. The crisis hasn’t affected us yet, but there’s not a lot of work in Moscow at the moment. I’m glad I still have this job.

There are a lot of Central Asian people in Moscow and a lot of my friends have lost their jobs. Some of them have found other work, but some of them are still looking for jobs, while others have gone home to Tajikistan.

Tolik, 23, Kashkadarya region, southern Uzbekistan

I’ve been in Moscow for three years, but have been unemployed for more than three months.

I lost my job at a car wash because of the economic crisis. I have lots of friends who have lost their jobs and gone home to Uzbekistan.

I used to earn the equivalent of about 25,000 roubles ($800) a month, two-thirds of which I sent home to my family.

Now I rely on my flatmate, who works as a street cleaner, for support.

I was a sportsman back in Uzbekistan. I was a regional karate champion and didn’t smoke or drink. But since I lost my job I’ve been drinking a lot of beer and vodka and smoking.

I want to go back home and resume my sports career. I sometimes watch my friends playing sport here in Moscow.

The separation from my fiancee, who is in Uzbekistan, has affected her health.

She calls me everyday and is missing me a lot.

Rasul, 23, Vakhsh, Tajikistan

I’m out of work now after spending almost a month in hospital with appendicitis and an ulcer.

Rasul, 23, Vakhsh, Tajikistan

Rasul plans to return to Tajikistan after losing his job

I used to work here in the park with Bakhtiyor and the others, but I now plan to go back to Tajikistan.

My wife and six-month-old daughter are living there.

Before coming to Moscow I played football a lot in Tajikistan because there aren’t many jobs available and what there are pay very badly.

It’s difficult to get a good job there.

I like Moscow a lot. There are many things to do here and I’ll miss it.

Bekzod, 22, Karshi, southern Uzbekistan

I work here in Moscow as a street cleaner. I’ve been working for a local council for the last two years.

I live in a hostel with other migrant workers in southwest Moscow.

I earn up to 18,000 roubles ($600) a month in winter and was paid around 12,000 roubles a month in summer. I send home around 900 roubles to my family.

I don’t know how much we’ll be paid this summer because of the economic crisis. Normally I get paid less in the summer, because the job is much harder in the snow and ice.

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