The Russian authorities may allow some categories of labor migrants to enter the country as one of the key problems facing Russia’s construction sector is shortage of manpower.   

The Government of Russia may allow the entry of a certain number of labor migrants to work at Russia’s construction sites, Deputy Prime Minister Marat Husnullin told reporters in Moscow on November 14.  

According to him, the shortage of manpower is now one of the key problems facing the country’s construction sector.   .

“Many migrants work there (construction sector – Asia-Plus).  Some of them went to their homes after [coronavirus-related] restrictions were introduced and they now cannot return [to Russia].  Therefore, the problem of shortage of manpower really is gaining alarming proportions,” Husnullin said.  

He further added many asked the government to open borders for migrants, “but we cannot take risks, until the coronavirus situation has stabilized.” 

According to him, the Government is currently looking for options to allow migrants to enter at least pointwise.

Tajikistan is heavily dependent on remittances from its migrant workers in Russia, a key destination for hundreds of thousands of Tajiks seeking work.

On March 18, Moscow closed its borders to foreigners as many Tajik migrants were packing their bags to travel for seasonal jobs at Russian construction sites, farms, and factories.

From late March to the end of April is the high season for many Tajik migrants to depart for Russia.  Some flew but many opted for cheaper options -- trains or buses -- a long journey that takes several days through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.  But Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan shut down their borders on March 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak, creating further uncertainties for Tajik migrant workers looking to get to Russia.

The border closures have brought financial hardship for thousands of Tajik households.