Demographic transition, COVID-19 and labour migration
Uzbekistan’s working-age population will increase by up to 1% per year until 2040, thus requiring up to 300,000 new jobs per year. Under optimistic assumptions about the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Uzbekistani labour migrants abroad could grow by 50,000 per year in the long run, so that one in six extra jobs needed could be found abroad. In the short run, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the number of migrants by one fifth to 2 m during the first half of 2020 with unemployment and economic inactivity rising sharply. To harness labour migration for job creation and development, Uzbekistan is implementing a comprehensive set of measures including job placement abroad, obligatory language and skills training and consular support for migrants. These measures are well-advised and, going forward, will benefit from evaluation, prioritization, and updating in line with international best practices.