Employees of the Tajik Embassy in Moscow have visited the Moscow Center for the Temporary Detention of Foreign Citizens, where 136 Tajik nationals are being held awaiting deportation.

According to information posted on the Embassy’s Facebook page, they promised labor migrants to issue certificates for their return to Tajikistan free of charge.  

On Wednesday December 22, Tajikistan Consul in Russia Iskandar Shafozoda met with Aleksey Lagoda, the head of the Moscow Center for the Temporary Detention of Foreign Citizens, to discuss the issue of execution of necessary document issues of sending the Tajik nationals to Tajikistan.  

During the visit to the Center, the Tajik Embassy employees handed over food, clothing and essentials to the Tajik nationals being held in the Center.  

It is to be noted that most of the Tajik nationals held in the Center were detained for failing to register within thirty days of their arrival in Russia or not having patens for work in the Russian Federation. 

Meanwhile, some experts say Russia has one of the largest networks of migrant detention centers in the world, including more than two dozen as of 2020.  Observers have criticized conditions at these centers, called Specialized Institutions for the Temporary Detention of Foreign Citizens.  Detainees have reportedly complained of being physically abused by staff at some centers, and there are reports of poor sanitary conditions, as well as a lack of food and medical personnel.  

In December 2020, the Russian government issued a presidential decree extending several COVID-19-related measures affecting foreigners in the country.  Measures, which were extended until June 15, 2021, include the suspension of forced expulsions and deportations, as well as the suspension of cancellations of refugee status, visas, work permits, residence permits, and other documents.  Certain people are exempt from these measures, including those who disturb public order and security (including people who participate in non-sanctioned rallies and meetings, and those who support extremist activities).  

In January-September this year, Russia’s Interior Ministry reportedly registered 2,025,712 Tajik citizens entering the country – 1.6 million of them, or about one-quarter of Tajikistan’s working-age population, with work as their official purpose.

More than two thirds of Tajik migrant workers have traveled to the Russian Federation due to the lack of jobs and the low salaries in Tajikistan. 

Tajikistan is one of the world’s most remittance dependent countries and labor migrants are still a critical component in the economy of Tajikistan.  Remittances keep many struggling families at home above the poverty line. 

Tajik seasonal workers travel abroad each year, primarily to the Russian Federation but also to neighboring Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.