This article seeks to extend the scope of existing literature on migration in Kyrgyzstan by revealing the material and moral assessment of labour migration and remittances amongst the people of Sopu Korgon, a village in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Remittances perform important social roles in sustaining social relations, making absent migrants ‘present’, gaining and/or retaining social status, passing through rites of passage and fostering the emergence of a new wealthy elite. Drawing on ethnographic research, the author examines the ambivalent opinions that surround the issue of migration and explores the idioms through which family absence is justified. The author argues that in addition to the important social functions of remittances, migrants' transfers in Sopu Korgon also help immediate family members to remain in the village and sustain their lives there. This in turn suggests that migrants' money ‘slows up time’ for other family members, delaying their own need to migrate.