DUSHANBE -- The Tajik parliament's lower chamber has approved an amendment to the Family Code that will make it more difficult for foreigners to marry Tajik women, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
The amendment states that only foreign men who have lived in Tajikistan for at least one year and can provide their wife with a home registered in her name may legally marry Tajik citizens.
Deputy Justice Minister Abdumanon Kholiqov told members of parliament there had been many cases in recent years in which foreigners married local women while working in Tajikistan, but abandoned their wives and children when their work contracts ended and they left the country.
Kholiqov also pointed to the necessity of signing formal marriage contracts that clearly stipulate the financial and other responsibilities of the two spouses.
But the speaker of the lower house, Shukurjon Zuhurov, said it was not easy for many foreigners to buy homes for their families, and the new amendment could in some cases be an impediment to marriages between Tajik women and foreigners.
Juma Davlatov, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's representative in the lower house, agreed that the amendment created elements of an "abnormal barrier."
At the same time he recalled that numerous Tajik women and their children who were abandoned by foreigners are dependent on the state budget for support.
Parliament deputy Muhiddin Kabiri asked government officials how they will be able to ensure compliance with the Family Code if married couples travel abroad to live.
Kholiqov assured him that in Western countries the legal aspects of marriage and divorce are clearly regulated, and Tajik citizens will enjoy legal protection if their marriage is legally registered in Tajikistan.
Over the last five years about 2,500 Tajik citizens married foreigners from some 30 countries. At least 600 of those marriages are known to have already ended in divorce.