Valdai Paper #55: Labour Migration from Central Asia to Russia in the Context of the Economic Crisis


The migration corridor that has formed between the countries of Central Asia and Russia is one of the largest and most stable in Eurasia and the world. It consists primarily of labour migrants, and includes from 2.7 million to 4.2 million people – or from 10 percent to 16 percent of the economically active population of Central Asia.

The competitive advantages of labor markets in Russia and Kazakhstan, which other countries cannot argue yet are the main reasons for a stable flow of migrant workers from Central Asia to these countries. Even higher level of wages in the Middle East, Turkey, South Korea cannot cover the significant social and economic expenses: strict requirements to the quality of the work, the difficulty in obtaining a work visa, the need for knowledge and the complexity of language learning, rigid attitudes from employers.

The economic difficulties in Russia, connected with a decrease in oil prices and the sanctions, strongly affect the income of migrants from Central Asia, which being transferred to home countries constitute a large amount of the total GDP. In this article, the author considers the nature of migration trends in Eurasia and evaluates the effects of the economic crisis on the stability of regimes in Central Asia.

About the author:

Sergey V. Ryazantsev, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), Doctor of Economics, Professor, Head of the Center of Social Demography and Economic Sociology at the Institute of Socio-Political Research RAS, Professor of the Department of Applied International Analysis at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University), Russia.

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