Tajikistan asked Moscow on Tuesday to allow more Tajik labourers to work in the Russian capital, a major source of income for the impoverished former Soviet state.
Unemployment has driven up to a million labourers from Tajikistan, a Central Asian nation bordering Afghanistan, to seek better jobs in Russia's booming economy, making them one of the largest foreign labour forces in Russia.
"(Tajik President) Imomali Rakhmon asked me to raise the quota for Tajik workers in Moscow, and I promised that we will settle this issue," Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov told reporters during a visit to Tajikistan.
Russia has set a quota of 600,000 for Tajik labourers, including 100,000 in Moscow. Experts say the real number is higher as many work illegally, operating a shadow remittances market that forms a large portion of Tajikistan's economy.
According to official Tajik data, remittances make up more than a quarter of Tajikistan's $3.7 billion economy, but diplomats in Tajikistan say the number is closer to two-thirds of Tajikistan's gross domestic product.
Tajikistan is still recovering from a brutal civil war in the 1990s which killed 100,000 and ruined its infrastructure.
Last Mod: 25 Haziran 2008, 08:33