Russia To Deal With Labor Shortages By Tripling Migrant Worker Volumes And Increasing Multilateral GDP

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In strategic moves designed to triple the number of migrant workers in Russia by 2030, the Russian government said that it would set up pre-migration centers in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. These are the three largely originating countries for migrant labor in Russia, and a major source of inbound remittances as workers send money back to their families. Inbound remittances to Tajikistan for example make up 27% of national GDP.

The plans highlight Russia’s reliance on cheap labor from Central Asia for manual jobs — cleaning streets, cooking, delivering parcels, working in factories, picking fruit — and its desire to formalize a grey part of its economy.

Russia’s deputy economy minister Dmitry Volvach also talked up attracting high-grade labor from across the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. He said that these initiatives would add 2.3% to Russia’s GDP by 2030.

For Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Russia’s push to triple migrant workers is important because their remittances are vital to their economies. They also want Russia to improve rights for migrants. “Citizens of these countries will be able to receive a full range of migration services – to come to Russia with a full package of documents for living and working in the country,” the Russian economy ministry said.

The pre-migration centers will focus on language training, job offers, legal documents and housing. The relationship between Russia and Central Asia regarding migrant workers and remittances is an interdependent one. When border restrictions were erected in the Pandemic, Russian industry and agriculture complained of a shortage of workers and Central Asian states complained that their economies had been dented by a drop in remittances. Transport routes, overland and air, are also dependent on workers moving between Central Asia and Russia.

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