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TASHKENT (TCA) — President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on August 17 discussed issues related to comprehensive support for Uzbek citizens working abroad with Uzbekistan’s diplomatic missions in foreign countries. The topic was a matter of discussion in such a format for the first time in the history of Uzbekistan, the president’s official website reported.

It was said during the video discussion that every year, 600-700 thousand people enter Uzbekistan’s labor market. Up to 500 thousand jobs are created annually in the country. Consequently, employment of almost 200 thousand people has to be provided through external labor migration. This is a natural process that developing economies go through. Where labor migration is properly organized, there is growth in employment and family incomes, increase in the skilled labor force.

In recent years, mounting attention is being directed at protecting the rights and improving the living conditions of Uzbek citizens working abroad. International agreements on labor migration have been concluded with Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. A special fund has been created to support Uzbek citizens working abroad. In addition, the post of Adviser to the Prime Minister on External Labor Migration has been introduced.

The meeting participants discussed issues of social, legal, material and cultural support for Uzbek citizens working abroad.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, the Ministry for Support of the Mahalla and Family, as well as the hokimiyats (state administrations) have been instructed to assist compatriots who returned from abroad in finding employment, with a close eye to their profession, qualifications and plans for the future.

The President stressed the importance of enhancing interaction with major employers in foreign countries to secure decent working conditions for Uzbek citizens. To this end, it is essential to train qualified and language-speaking specialists in accordance with requirements of those large companies.

In this regard, the head of state ordered to establish a new system. The powers of the territorial branches of the Agency for External Labor Migration will be expanded to include the right to conclude direct contracts with foreign employers, and to negotiate with migration services of host countries.

Officials in charge were given directive to hold talks with major employers overseas, increase the number of specialists in demand, as well as help allocate low-interest loans to labor migrants in the amount of up to 10 million soums to cover travel costs and those related to obtaining a patent and insurance.

Under a resolution of the President of Uzbekistan signed August 11 this year, measures were outlined to train people in vocations in demand in the labor market, in entrepreneurship basics and foreign languages. The meeting discussed the practical aspects of the implementation of that document. The issues considered included professional development of those wishing to work abroad, creation of vocational training centers for these purposes, organization of learning courses and mono-centers.

The head of state instructed to draw finances for life and health insurance of labor migrants from the Fund to Support and Protect the Rights and Interests of Citizens Working Abroad.

The President emphasized that procedures related to departure of labor migrants be simplified, and offices of the Uzbek Agency for External Labor Migration be opened in cities with considerable number of Uzbek migrants. Also, the task was set to bolster the legal protection of citizens abroad, launch an online platform and call center for these purposes.

Uzbekistan’s diplomatic missions abroad, Mirziyoyev stated, should strengthen ties with expats.

As it was said at the video session, culture is an important facet binding labor migrants to the homeland, and hence what is needed is increase in outbound cultural events. The President recommended that the activities of Uzbekistan’s embassies and consulates for the benefit of Uzbek people abroad be widely covered on television.

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