Uzbek Emigrants

by Nathan Hamm on 9/10/2004 · 2 comments

Ferghana.ru reports on a draft concept paper on Uzbek immigration policy (thought it mostly seems to discuss emigration).

87% immigrants settle in CIS countries and only 13% in other foreign countries. Immigration costs the country 0.3% of the population every year, slowing down demographic growth and affecting ethnic structure of the population. On the other hand, it reduces diasporas and facilitates uniformity of ethnic composition.

Rather, most Uzbek emigrants settle in the CIS. Like the vast majority of countries around the world, emigration vastly outstrips immigration in Uzbekistan. 7 come in for every 100 that leave.

And the problems this causes for the country? Pretty similar to elsewhere in the world as well.

The Concept states that between 25,000 and 30,000 specialists with higher and special education leave the country every year – the so called brain drain – which is more typical of the capital and major cities. Immigration potential is estimated at over 1 million people. It may eventually create serious economic and social difficulties for Uzbekistan.

Most immigrants leave the country in search of jobs. Export of manpower from Uzbekistan exceeds its import.

Other data in the article may be of interest to you. The paper referred to is, unfortunately, unavailable at the OSCE Tashkent website.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 2 comments }

Laurence September 10, 2004 at 10:46 am

But the fact remains that remittances sent back by family members living abroad are the best hope for economic progress in Uzbekistan, and the education and opportunities they receive outside Uzbekistan will in the long run benefit the country far more than keeping educated people at home doing nothing. It is also a safety valve on political dissatisfaction–you don’t like it here, leave. Clamping down on exit visas will really set Uzbekistan back, and help the extremists at the same time. Example: Ireland’s boom is being helped by the large number of affluent Irish-Americans who have invested there. Short-term panic v. the need for long-term planning seems to be an issue here. Also, as there are some 3 million of Uzbek origin in Russia, Uzbekistan should just face facts that a significant percentage of Uzbeks live abroad and will continue to do so–work that into the baseline perception of reality, rather than fantasize about keeping everyone prisoner. Lots have already escaped, and the more that do, the better for Uzbekistan…

Nathan September 10, 2004 at 11:00 am

I entirely agree.

I remember a Chinese politics class from college where we discussed the same phenomenon in China. The Chinese government realized that they would lose a lot of those they sent abroad to study, that some would use travel opportunities to escape, and that many would take advantage of higher pay in the US and Europe. Part of the attitude was “good riddance to bad rubbish.” China knew that some of those who would leave the country would only be trouble-makers for the regime were they to stay, that those who did return would add immense value to society, and that remittances would be beneficial.

I get the impression that this has worked well for China. All the Chinese students I knew in college were more than happy to go back to China once they were done with their studies.

My Uzbek students were similarly proud of their country and expressed a desire to study overseas and come back to improve Uzbekistan. I say, let them go. It’ll be better in the long run.

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