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Uzbeks And The American Dream

Many thousands of Uzbeks leave to work in Russia every year, among other destinations.
The United States' annual Green Card lottery -- officially known as the U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Program -- is in full swing again. And many Uzbeks will be filling in their applications.

Last year, according to a regional media report, Uzbekistan led all former Soviet countries in the number of Green Card recipients.

According to "Uzmetronom," a website focusing on Uzbek news and affairs, some 3,200 Uzbek citizens received their U.S. Green Cards in 2009. Most of them were residents of the city of Samarkand.

That is only a tiny portion of Uzbeks who have left the Central Asian country, permanently or otherwise. Experts estimate there are some 8 million migrant laborers from Uzbekistan, living and working in Russia, Kazakhstan, and other former Soviet states.

A lack of jobs at home has forced thousands of others to look for destinations farther afield, such as South Korea, the Czech Republic, and the Persian Gulf countries.

President Islam Karimov frequently mentions rising living standards and the steadily growing economy in his speeches. But it seems many Uzbeks are voting with their feet.

-- Chaikhana team