There are about 300 thousand Kyrgyz citizens in Russia at the present time - that is those, who went to work without citizenship. Many labor migrants wouldn’t mind getting a citizenship status in Russia. It would considerably ease their situation, however, with the new laws of our great northern neighbor, it is not that simple to become a citizen of Russia.
…Very few of Kyrgyz labor migrants operate in the field of small and medium size enterprises. Most of them are hired as salespeople and building construction workers.
There are considerably big communities of Kyrgyz labor migrants in the markets of major Russian cities: 1-5 thousand workers are employed at the trade centers in Krasnoyarsk, Kurgan, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Saratov, Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk.
Kyrgyz citizens are mainly employed in building construction works in Moscow and Moscow region. Officially, there are just 3 thousand registered there, however, in fact there are 3-5 times that number.
Labor migrants face numerous problems – no residence status (regular propiska) and as of now, unbearable conditions for legalization of their employment. There are many firms in Moscow and Moscow region that provide for such “legalization” illegally, for a payment of course. And there is demand for their services. These institutions are even competing against each other – this is how fake migration cards are discovered. Migrants are the ones to suffer the consequences.
Not that long ago, Russian president Putin announced that the country is rapidly “getting older” – with negative demographic balance of 700 thousand people per year. It means that Russia will welcome at least 3 mln CIS citizens in the near future. Considering the Treaty of eternal friendship between Kyrgyzstan and Russia, out citizens were hoping for a loyal treatment towards them in Russia.
However, Russian Ministry for National and Migration Policy is dissolved now. MIA is the one to take over its functions. It looks like Russia will tackle migration problems through the use of force. The law “On the legal status of foreign citizens in Russia” leaves no room for doubt.
…All in all, what is the difference for Russia who is constructing the houses – Chinese or Kyrgyz?
There is no such Kyrgyz government entity today to tackle the problems of migrants. MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and MIA (Ministry of Internal Affairs) are pretending to do a great deal to assess the situation, while they are being fooled around in Russia and Kazakhstan.
It is high time to realize that Kyrgyzstan needs labor migration – we have an excess of labor resources and limited employment opportunities. Kyrgyzstan in the first place should make sure that its labor migrants in Russia are well off hence they are the real and major investors into our economy. Otherwise, people, that are looking for jobs in Russia might come back and start looking for jobs in Kyrgyzstan.
We have to get used to the fact that Russian and other CIS countries are “abroad” and MIA has to pay close attention to the problems of labor migrants…
“Gazeta KP v Kyrgyzstane”, April 04, 2003