Migration and COVID-19: Challenges and Policy Responses in Kyrgyzstan

Irina Kuznetsova, Roman Mogilevskii, Asel Murzakulova, Aigoul Abdoulbaetova, Alexander Wolters, John Round

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


COVID-19 carries significant social and economic consequences for Kyrgyzstan’s migrants and their home communities. It deepens the existing vulnerabilities of migrants who are unable to return home and who do not have job security in host countries. COVID-19 also impacts the lives of internal migrants who have lost their jobs. The dependence of rural communities on remittances provides additional risks of unemployment and socio-economic inequality. The COVID-19 crisis once again demonstrates the lack of migration policy in Kyrgyzstan and the necessity of elaborating a multisectoral approach towards migrants and families who have been “left behind.”

The theme of migration was not in the centre of elections in Kyrgyzstan, though embedded in discourse around it – whether we talk about the country’s dependence from remittances, or whether we refer to the fact that not all migrants were able to vote in the 45 created centres abroad. We argue that considering the role which migration plays in Kyrgyzstan’s economy and society, it is crucial to assess the impact of COVID-19 on migration and its policy responses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOVID-19 PANDEMIC AND CENTRAL ASIA
Subtitle of host publicationCrisis Management, Economic Impact, and Social Transformations
EditorsMarlene Laruelle , Bakhrom Radjabov
PublisherCentral Asia Program, The George Washington University
ISBN (Electronic)9780999621462
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2021


  • labour migration
  • COVID-19
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Russia
  • vulnerabilities
  • remittances
  • Return migration
  • Eurasian Economic Union


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