Drop in Migrant Remittances a Problem for Central Asian Economies

Over at The Diplomat, I looked at the fallout coming for migrant laborers in Russia, and the potential effects moving forward on the countries of origin:

This marked decline in remittance rate presents a wealth of reverberations beyond simple top-level numbers. Foremost, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will suddenly see the most significant pillars of their GDP weakened. Jobs will disappear. Savings will shrink. Few will be immune from the downturn. As one Tajik mother, one of the millions of Tajikistan nationals with a family member working in Russia, recently said, “My son was ruined.” Part of the reason these millions of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan nationals have opted to work in Russia, of course, lies in the fact that there’s little worthwhile work to be found in their home countries. A lack of localized industry – to say nothing of the rampant corruption coursing through business structures in both countries, cutting what little revenue can be found – drove millions northward.

Now, those without work will face a stark choice: Remain, and attempt to weather a recession that shows little sign of ceasing in the short- or mid-term, or leave and attempt to locate what work they can find elsewhere. According to Mukhammed Amin, the head of the Federation of Migrants of Russia, at least 2.5 million migrants intend to leave Russia in the near future, either to their country of origin or to try to find work elsewhere – in Turkey or the Gulf especially. Regardless of choice, the reality is that Bishkek and Dushanbe are all but assured to lose a significant chunk of their GDP stream.