The return of up to 300,000 Kyrgyz labor migrants from Russia and Kazakhstan has the potential to trigger a wave social unrest, the Kyrgyz Federation of Trade Unions is warning.
A fall in remittances from migrants will also decrease living standards and provide an additional source of tension, the trade union said in an April 3 statement.
"In 2008, the amount of funds transferred from Kyrgyz labor migrants abroad reached $1.2 billion. However, in January 2009 it went down by 40 percent. Due to major job cuts in Kazakhstan and Russian, about 200,000 to 300,000 labor migrants are expected to come back to Kyrgyzstan, which is likely to heat up social instability," the statement said
At a time when many family incomes are shrinking, the cost is living is in for a big increase, the statement added. "In 2009, prices for bread and flour are expected to grow by 15-20 percent, while housing services may grow in price by 45 percent," the statement added, reported the 24.kg news agency.
Official estimates from the Kyrgyz State Committee for Migration and Employment put the number of Kyrgyz migrant workers between half a million and 800,000. According to the Asian Development Bank, 79 percent of remittances to Kyrgyzstan originate in Russia.