Improving employment and income for Tajik migrant workers

Project description

Title: Improving employment and income for Tajik migrant workers in Tajikistan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Tajikistan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population of the Republic of Tajikistan
Overall term: 2020 to 2022

Context

Estimates from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) put the number of Tajik nationals working abroad, either on a temporary or permanent basis, at around 800,000. Measured in terms of the overall population, Tajikistan therefore has the highest share of labour migration in the world. In the past, monetary remittances from Tajik nationals living abroad have contributed more to the country’s economic performance than agriculture. 

Because of its considerable importance to the economy, labour migration is supported by the Government of Tajikistan. Russia is by some margin the most important labour market for the country. In recent years, however, Russia has been deporting more and more migrant workers and preventing them from re-entering the country. For job seekers, by far the most important target market is therefore no longer an option.

In 2020, this situation has been greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The global travel restrictions imposed in early 2020 meant that many seasonal workers were unable to leave Tajikistan, leading to a rapid deterioration in the country’s economic situation. Managing return migration to the country has thus become increasingly important, both economically and socially. 

In order to facilitate the successful reintegration of returnees, the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment of Population has developed various support measures and advisory structures. However, these measures either often fail to reach the target group, are ineffective or do not reflect what is required. 

Objective

The income and employment prospects for Tajik migrant workers in selected regions of Tajikistan have improved.

Approach

The project supports state strategies and measures implemented by the Government of Tajikistan to reintegrate migrant workers into the domestic labour market. The needs of female migrant workers and their families are also taken into account. 

The project also works together with the private sector in setting up viable local self-help models. At the same time, it provides training for administrative bodies at local, regional and national level. The project combines concrete and needs-based measures of this kind with advisory services for the national government in an effort to make national policy more effective and to support the measures taken by the competent authorities. It also strengthens civil society by building and promoting local economic and social networks.

The project provides reintegration measures that impact positively on employment and income and address current market needs. The focus is on two fields of activity:

Field of activity 1 improves the range of training courses available and aligns these increasingly with the level of demand. The project supports economic participation by way of short-term upskilling measures, the certification of foreign qualifications and training courses on financial literacy. The different programmes provided by local stakeholders are also linked to one another. All of these measures are designed to increase income and impact positively on employment.

Field of activity 2 strengthens advisory services throughout the country: pilot projects, training courses for authorities and work with multipliers all help in offering reintegration measures on a supra-regional level. The project is firmly established at both of the government agencies responsible for migration measures. Improving advice for migrants leads to an increased uptake of measures among the target group.

The project integrates former migrant workers as mentors to assist other labour migrants in entering the labour market or in starting up businesses of their own. In so doing, migrant workers can develop their own networks with each other and establish new contacts that may prove useful in terms of their professional integration.