For IRIN News:
OSH, 24 April 2015 (IRIN) – At a government-run centre for migrant labourers in the Kyrgyzstani city of Osh, 23-year-old Nurbek waits patiently for advice on how to return to Moscow. “My family has lived in Russia for more than 10 years, I want to go back to them,” he said. “I was deported 10 days ago after police said I’m on a blacklist. Now I’m hoping to be removed from the list.”
Nurbek is one of around 1.5 million Kyrgyz – a fifth of the population – working in Russia. The migrants have long been targets of labour exploitation and sexual abuse, and now, in a Russia increasingly tense about terrorism, xenophobic attacks are on the rise.
It will all change in May as Kyrgyzstan is set to join the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), meaning migrants in Russia will no longer need to obtain special work permits. But workers like Nurbek are uncertain how things will play out.