According to a statement posted on President Emomali Rahmon’s official website, Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the Interior Minister to begin addressing the issue of the possibility of revoking bans slapped on hundreds of thousands of Tajik labor migrants.  Around 240,000 Tajiks are now believed to be banned from entering Russia.

But a joint declaration released on April 17, at the close of Rahmon’s two-day visit, alludes only to creating “favorable living and labor conditions for Tajik citizens in Russia [and Russian citizens in Tajikistan] through the proper implementation of relevant legislation.” No mention is made of any amnesty, according to Eurasianet.

Access to Russia’s labor market is a near-existential issue for Tajikistan, where unemployment is rife and most menial jobs are poorly paid.

According to Russia’s Central Bank, around $2.5 billion worth of remittances were sent from Russia to Tajikistan in 2018. That is the equivalent of 34 percent of gross domestic product.

Under a 2017 agreement, a travel ban imposed on around 100,000 Tajik nationals who had been deported from Russia was lifted.  The deportations are typically triggered by violations of migration law.

Although Tajiks may travel to Russia without a visa, they require additional documentation to work and live there for long periods.

Exclusion orders can vary between a few months to a decade, depending on the type of offense that triggered deportation.

Prior to the 2017 agreement, around 400,000 Tajik nationals were barred from entering Russia.  That figure is now around 240,000, according to nongovernmental organizations that work on migration issues.

In the hope of alleviating the deportation issue going forward, Rahmon is also lobbying for registration periods to be extended for Tajik nationals and for the fees charged for work permits to be lowered. It is unclear that these petitions got a positive response.