In this paper I will discuss the consequences of the external labor migration of the indigenous people of Kyrgyzstan. The problem of labor emigration has grown to a significant scale, involving hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz citizens and resulting in serious social, economic and political consequences.
This paper will examine these consequences for Kyrgyzstan (donor- country) and for Russia (main recipient-country).
The social-economic reforms carried out in Kyrgyzstan have not yet resulted in increasing the living standards of the people. The majority of the population (64%) still lives in poverty.
The unemployment problem was the main factor that people cited for their discontent and overthrowing the former Akayev regime.
The extremely difficult social-economic situation is the main reason for the massive people’s strike this year that bought about the change of power in our country.
The former government implemented different programs to develop industry, to support small and average-sized enterprises and to eliminate poverty.
These measures did not achieve any appreciable results, because of corruption at all levels of management, corruptible state employees and poorly qualified local manpower.
The economic literature proposed different ways for improving the socio-economic situation. But for all that, the specialists do not attach appropriate importance to the positive role of labor migration.
It is my aim to demonstrate that labor migration provides a real opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of citizens to better their economic condition..
The people do not expect any aid from the government to improve their standard of living. Labor migrants up-grade their qualifications and obtain beneficial experience. Most of them save their money to invest in establishing enterprises in Kyrgyzstan. To my mind, the export of manpower can result in incomes comparable to the amount of foreign financial help.
With proper regulation, the migration of labor will to be repaid a hundredfold, bringing financial gain to the population, the growth of earnings in public accounts and an increase of investments in the state economy.
Russian specialists note a number of positive consequences from the emigration of Central Asians to Russia to work and earn money there: The elimination of the labor-force deficit and an increase of the economic indexes in many spheres of the economy. But most experts consider that this migration affects Russia negatively, citing low-qualified workers, a worsening of crime and working informally for lower wages.
I wish to emphasize that Kyrgyz emigrants are preferable for Russia, since they do not take part in the criminal groups and are less likely to influence Islamic fundamentalism. Kyrgyz emigrants integrate comparatively well into Russian public and cultural life.
Russia gets law-abiding, cheap manpower.
This article is based primarily on an analysis of the information found in Russian books and magazines about the emigration of workers from Kyrgyzstan to Russia, on sociological interviews carried out in Kyrgyzstan and on materials in the mass media in Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
This paper was prepared with financial support from the MacArthur Foundation.