Labor Migration From Uzbekistan: a Family and Community Promoted Big Bang
From 1991 to 2019, the economy of Uzbekistan passed through the four stages. Each stage was characterized by certain demographic, economic, political, and other factors. These factors influence the formation of foreign labor migration at the macrolevel. The mentioned stages reflect (i) the transition from a planned to a market economy against the background of an increase in migration outflow for permanent residence in 1990–2000, (ii) acceleration of economic growth in 2000–2009 and the formation of “migrant networks” abroad, (iii) a period of slowdown in GDP growth in the absence of structural reforms to stimulate employment and investment in 2010–2015, which contributed to the active growth of labor migration, and (iv) a stage of new socioeconomic reforms and increased attention of the leadership of Uzbekistan to migration processes. This study takes into account these macroeconomic conditions, but focus is shifted to the reasons for the change in migration processes in terms of poorly understood sociocultural factors that affect foreign labor migration and reintegration of labor migrants in Uzbekistan. The article is based on reports from specialized studies of foreign labor migration and employment conducted by the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations of Uzbekistan, publications of studies by international organizations, and data from in-depth interviews with migrants and their families. The research revealed that under the influence of macroeconomic conditions, the change in the sociocultural context in 2006–2019 contributed to expansion of the geography of migration flows from Uzbekistan, the emergence of such phenomena as the “feminization” of migration and its “rejuvenation” against the background of certain elements of egalitarianism in an initially patriarchal society. Studying the sociocultural context made it possible to assess the degree of “success” of migration, in terms of remigration and the ability of migrants to reintegrate into society upon returning home. It has been determined that the microcommunity in Uzbekistan, as a donor country of labor resources, has both stimulating and constraining effects on the transformation of migration processes.