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25 Million Migrants to Come to Russia
February 8, 2007 17:26

Within the next 20 years Russia will require about 25mn labor migrants, otherwise, due to impetuous shortening of employable population, the country may face the prospect of economic stagnation and the pension system will be destroyed. This is the summary of the survey called Economical and political situation in Russia in January of 2006, conducted by the Institute for the Economy in Transition.

The population of the country has impetuously been reducing during the last 15 years and nobody ever wondered. However, the labor force felt the changes most recently and the next few years are unlikely to see the situation improved: Russian working class is due to encounter scarcity of labor. This year working population of the country is probably to reduce by 300 thousand people, but in the following years their number will gradually increase, up to 1 million people annually in 2010-2018. Consequently, by 2026 labor force of the country will reduce by 17-18mn people. It should be taken into account that the current number of working people in Russia makes up 67mn, therefore, in some years the country is expected to lose quarter of all labor. Experts believe that only migrants from neighbouring countries can fill up the growing “gap”.

 The head of the social policy center of the RAS (Russia Academy of sciences) Institute of economics thinks such allegations are too arithmetical. The question is that the lack of working population must be liquidated, but the figure of 25 million may not coincide with the real number of labor migrants the country will require, says the expert. Besides, firstly, there is a problem of accommodation, as the vast majority of workers are expected to come from far-abroad countries, as the total number of Russian-speaking people still living in former Soviet republics amounts to some hundred thousand. Secondly, the Russian society is not ready to accept so many migrants, especially since xenophobia and nationalism are “flourishing” nowadays.

Analysts notify that Russia can rely generally on lower social strata of the world migrant flow, as educated and competent employees will rather go to Europe and the USA. The competitive struggle at the world labor force market appears to be very severe and the chance that Russia can find itself among winners is really small.

 There are several ways to fix the problem of labor scarcity. First of all Russian authorities must make it possible for many Russian-speaking migrants to work in the country without numerous bureaucratic problems existent these days. Then, the government must show its intention to fight illegal migrants.

At the same time government’s actions aimed to improve the situation can’t be called consistent. E.g., last year Russian government amended migratory and labor legislations, which on one hand simplified the procedure of migrants’ registration, but on the other hand imposed quotas and limited possible fields, where migrants are allowed to work. For instance, foreign employees are prohibited to trade in medicaments and alcohol and run casinos. Experts suppose that new amendments were approved in view of upcoming elections. At all rates, no matter who wants or doesn’t want migrants to work in Russia, we all have to learn tolerance, as one day every fourth working person in Russia will be a foreigner and our life will change.


Olga Pletneva

Tags: Russian labor market     

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