High unemployment is one of the burning problems for Turkmenistan's residents. A large number of Turkmenistan's nationals are trying to head to Turkey and other countries in search of jobs, but not everybody succeeds. Turkmenistan's Migration Office includes many residents on the black lists of those barred from traveling overseas. Young women are especially affected by this policy. They are prevented from leaving the country by the authorities who fear that they might engage in prostitution.
Under such circumstances young females are forced to look for employment opportunities in Turkmenistan. Needless to say, everybody tries to settle in Ashgabat. There are much more chances of finding a job in Ashgabat than in the provinces. Many are employed as household servants, shop assistants at bazaars or waitresses in cafes and restaurants. However, the requirement to have a residence registration in Ashgabat to be able to be employed legally is the main constraint which is next to impossible to overcome. Citizens of Turkmenistan who have residence registration in the provinces are forbidden to work or rent accommodation in Ashgabat.
The huge number of those in search of jobs and their illegal status lead to the fact that people are underpaid and are often forced to endure indiscreet and rude behavior and threats from their employers.
Those females who fail to land a job in Ashgabat are forced to go to rural areas in search of employment where they can be hired as field workers. They are paid a small wage of 10 manats per day and are provided with accommodation and meals.
A female resident from Mary working in Akhal velayat told the correspondent of Chronicles of Turkmenistan that she transfers all the money she earns to her elderly parents and children.
There are no job vacancies in Mary velayat. Tenant farmers live poorly and try to do all the work on their own. My husband left for Turkey but has not been making any money transfers to us for a year and is not willing to keep in touch. My female neighbor and I headed to Ashgabat first but there are a lot of people willing to accept a job which pays peanuts and the police keep vigil. It is more comfortable here. We get paid 300 manats per month (about $17 using the black market rate), and luckily we do not have to pay for meals and accommodation and thus we send all the cash we earn here back home. I clean the house and the backyard, attend to cattle and work in the field. In a nutshell, I do whatever my employers tell me to do. Probably people like me can be called slaves. I am not forced to work here but I have no other choice, a middleaged women complained to a correspondent.
As it has transpired, apart from Akhal velayat, many young women from Mary head to the west to Balkan velayat, where major oil refineries are located and, according to females, the standard of living is higher than in other regions.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan