Almaty. June 10.
Information Center - A June 8 Radio Azattyk investigation revealed
that migrant workers from Central Asian countries prefer to seek their fortune
in Kazakhstan, where earnings are much lower than in Russia, but there are
fewer risks and fewer problems. They mainly move from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,
Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, Asia News reports.
Airline tickets to Russia have risen greatly in the year of
the pandemic, and work permits have also become more difficult to obtain, with
the risk of being repatriated without warning.
Kazakhstan is the richest of the countries in the former
Soviet region, still largely Russian-speaking, but also compared to the less
accessible Afghanistan and Pakistan, not to mention the western regions of
China. Azattyk gathered some impressive accounts from migrants
themselves and their employers.
Dilšodbek, 42, comes from the city of Kokand in eastern
Uzbekistan, and worked in seasonal labour in Russia for over 10 years. This
year he decided to go to Kazakhstan: "Here they pay a lot less, but there
is no big difference: my cousin went to Russia in May, he spent over 490 euros
for the ticket and 246 for the permit, while to go to Kazakhstan 165-245 euros
can be enough".
Kazakhstan gladly welcomes seasonal workers, entrusting them
with the heaviest jobs that are rejected by the locals. In some Kazakh regions,
entrepreneurs and administrations manage to pay for the trip for migrants from
neighbouring countries. In May, authorities in the western Atyrau region
brought 600 workers from Uzbekistan for farm labour, and the month before they
had organized a charter flight for 70 Uzbeks to clean up city streets.
Akturlan Ermanov, head of a large farm in the Atyrau region,
is one of the entrepreneurs who proposed to finance migrants from Uzbekistan,
despite the cost of almost 410 euros each between tickets and anti-Covid tests.
Ermanov owns 1,500 hectares of land, and finds no candidates among his
compatriots: “Migrants work well. Instead the locals start, but do not complete
the assigned tasks, and I am forced to fire them. They often just quit without
warning,” he confides to Azattyk.
Garbage collectors in Atyrau earn 270 euros a month, and
enjoy some privileges as municipal workers, while farm workers reach a maximum
of 195 euros per month. For Uzbek migrants and migrants from other countries,
these salaries are already considerable, given that in their home unemployment
has often reached dramatic levels.
Seasonal work, or the permanent transfer of millions of
people to Russia, had become a constant in the decades after the end of the
USSR. Since 2014, when Russia was greeted with Western sanctions for the
Ukrainian conflict, and with the effects of the global economic crisis, the
number of migrants to Kazakhstan has steadily increased.
Before the pandemic, about one million migrants from other
Central Asian states worked in the country; today it is difficult to give
precise figures, considering the many who work illegally, but the figure is
closer to 10 million than to five, according to estimates.
In Kazakhstan there is also less risk of xenophobic
aggression, which has become much more frequent in Russia. The country led by
President Qasim-Jomart Tokaev, with the timeless ex-president Nursultan
Nazarbaev behind his back, has in recent years been able to draw on funds and
business from East to West, from Europe to Russia, and above all from