Uzbek labor migrants have been left with no means of subsistence during the pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, tens of thousands of unemployed citizens of Uzbekistan have sought to leave the Russian Federation. The government of Uzbekistan has organized charter flights for its citizens. However, getting on these flights is difficult, tickets are expensive, and it is impossible to travel by land due to closed borders. Of about 2 million migrants, 73.4 thousand people returned to the country.

The other part of labor migrants was unable to leave for Russia. These people were left without work and without means of subsistence, thus, they were forced to look for additional income.
For three months (in quarantine) we have lived on the pension of my elderly disabled mother.
Shavkat Poyanov, 38, from the city of Termez, has been traveling to Russia for eight years to work with his wife. Three minor children are left for his 60-year-old mother and 63-year-old father.
«My wife and I did different jobs in different regions of Russia. For the last two years we have been working in the Ulyanovsk region of the Russian Federation. I worked there as a driver for a road construction company. I was earning 60,000 RUB (800 US dollars) per month.

Every month I was sending home 400 US dollars, which were left after my expenditures, such as transportation, patent (work permit) fees, food, rent. My wife, who worked in a confectionery factory, also was sending 200 US dollars a month to Uzbekistan. In total, we both were sending home 600 US dollars a month. After the start of quarantine, our company in Russia stopped working.
In March 2020, I returned to Uzbekistan, while my wife stayed in Russia. I was at home during the quarantine and stayed without work. During the quarantine period, my three children and I lived on my mother's pension in the amount of 800,000 Uzbekistani Sums (UZS) (80 US dollars). I went to the mahalla committee to ask for assistance, however, no help was provided. After 3 months I found a car for rent, for which I pay 50,000 UZS (5 US dollars) per day, my net profit per month is 1,000,000 UZS (100 US dollars). Currently, I am waiting for the borders to open, so I plan to leave again. If jobs were created in Uzbekistan and salaries were around 3,000,000 UZS (300 US dollars), then I would stay to work at home. That aside - we are forced to leave elderly parents and minor children at home. I am afraid that we are missing something important in child guidance process (nurturing) of our children, but there is no other way out. We must work, so our children could get education», - says Shavkat Poyanov.
«I am forced to work so as not to stay on the street with children, not to live in cemeteries»
Mohigul Zhumagulova, a 41-year-old nurse, currently working as a cleaner at the Magnit store on Krasnogorsk street in Moscow.
«It has been two years since I arrived in Moscow. I arrived here for work and left my three children in an orphanage in the city of Termez. My husband became addicted to alcohol, used to beat us every day, and threatened us. It was happening every day! Once, when he began to molest my 15-year-old daughter, I decided to divorce with this person. I took my three minor children and went out into the street. We went through very hard times. Thus, in order to improve my life in one way or another, I have decided to leave for Russia, since we were left on the street without a roof over our heads.
In Moscow, I was doing well with work, but because of the coronavirus, everything got worse. I also myself got sick. At the moment, my salary is 24 thousand RUB (300 US dollars). After all my expenses, I send home 100 US dollars. I am waiting for things to get better. I want to save up some money for housing in Uzbekistan, return, take my children back from the orphanage and work as a nurse, which is my profession. There are a lot of female labor migrants in Moscow similar to me. We do all sorts of dirty and hard work here. To get more money, our women work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Housing conditions are very bad, however, we tolerate all this and continue to work», - says Mokhigul Zhumagulova.
«I must work now so that my children do not become mardikors (unskilled laborer) in the future.»
A 45-years old Sobir Shokhmardonov, from the Oltinsay region of the Surkhandarya oblast has been working in Russia for 10 years. Due to quarantine, he also returned to Uzbekistan and is waiting for the opening of the borders.
« I have worked in various construction organizations in the Voronezh region of Russia, for 10 years. I was sending 700 US dollars a month to Uzbekistan. Russia has its difficulties, but if one works with patience and honesty, one can earn good money. With the money that I have earned in Russia, I bought a car. I have built a greenhouse at home, now I need to work a little more to educate the children and marry them. To prevent children from becoming mardikor (unskilled laborer) like me, we need to earn more money and educate them.

I have returned to Uzbekistan due to quarantine measures and left without work for two months. Later, I found work in the printing department of a local newspaper located in the Oltinsay region. My salary is 150 US dollars. If salaries in Uzbekistan were higher, for example 300 US dollars, I would not leave for other countries.

I would stay and work here and engaged upbringing of my children. Citizens who have worked abroad and returned due to quarantine measures, have a very hard time. There is no work, no money, they stay at home, and the state too - who to help? The majority is having hard times. However, activities in all sectors are now permitted. The situation is now improving. However, it is still not that good», - says Sobir Shokhmardonov.
Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov about labor migrants:
Being a migrant is not easy. It is a horrific ordeal. We are discussing the seemingly tip of the iceberg, part of the migrant problem. An integrated approach is needed to solve this problem. If you stop our home-lander, who is wandering abroad, and ask them if they wanted to return back to homeland, they will say that it is possible in case if job will be provided. A comprehensive state program of assistance to migrants is needed ...
This situation is recognized in the Presidential Decree «On measures to attract low-income and unemployed people to entrepreneurship, increase their labor activity and professional training».
This decree provides for the creation of a national system of vocational and business training for low-income and unemployed citizens. For this purpose, there will be created monocenter(s) "Welcome to work" in regional centers and cities. In addition, vocational training centers for the unemployed citizens of the country will operate. In the districts of the city of Tashkent, short-term vocational training courses for unemployed youth, women and citizens wishing to improve their qualifications in secondary specialized educational institutions under the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education will begin their activities.

In mahalla centers, on the territory of mahallas, in buildings of educational institutions, enterprises and organizations, buildings of business entities, and other empty premises for residents of mahallas, educational institutions will be organized under the Centers for training the unemployed population of the country.