Central Asian Migrants at the Russian Labor Market: Before the Pandemic

Central Asian Migrants at the Russian Labor Market:
Before the Pandemic

Mukomel V.I.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Chief Researcher, Head of the Center for the Study of Interethnic Relations, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia mukomel@isras.ru

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For citation:

Mukomel V.I. Central Asian Migrants at the Russian Labor Market: Before the Pandemic. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2022. No 1. P. 63-75


The article examines peculiarities of adaptation of labor migrants from Central Asian states in the Russian labor market before the pandemic through the prism of the decent work concept. The main attention is paid to their opportunities to find a job in Russia, economic activities and occupations, the adequacy of earnings and decent working hours, productive employment, equal opportunities and employment conditions for women. Significant differences in the economic activities of immigrants from Kyrgyzstan on the one hand, and migrants from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on the other, are explained not only by the difference in the demographic composition of migrants, the legal status of migrants from different states, but also by the specifics of employment structures, the economic environment of donor countries. Central Asian migrants are in a worse position on the labor market than Russian workers or labor migrants from other CIS countries, Ukraine and Georgia due to low qualifications and lack of transferable skills. Special attention is paid to the labor mobility of Central Asian migrants. Upward mobility in the Russian labor market allows many of them to achieve better conditions and / or wages, to take better jobs (most often without changing the type of economic activity). However, there is a “glass ceiling” separating Central Asian migrants from highly qualified jobs. Upward mobility is predominantly the lot of Central Asian migrants engaged in manual labor and occupying the worst social and professional positions. The empirical basis of the study was the results of a sociological survey of 8033 labor migrants from the CIS countries, Ukraine and Georgia in 2017 in 19 regions of Russia, including 4799 Central Asian labor migrants.

labor migrants; labor market; adaptation; decent work; economic activities; occupations; wages; labor mobility; Central Asia
Content No 1, 2022