Labour immigration to Russia: myths and contrarguments

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Abstract


The article analyzes the role of immigration and labor immigration in the demographic and socio-economic development of Russia in the post-Soviet period. Two main migration flows (immigration for permanent residence and labor immigration) to the country are analyzed on the basis of both absolute numbers and socio-demographic structure. The four most common myths regarding the negative impact of labor migration on the socio-economic situation in Russia are considered in detail: immigration hampers technological re-equipment and the renewal of the Russian economy; immigrants squeeze national labor from the Russian labor market; immigrants contribute to the dumping of wages on the Russian labor market; immigrants are to blame for raising the retirement age in Russia. The author’s counterarguments on each of these myths are cited. A distinctive feature of labor migration to Russia is the clearly expressed labor motivation of migrants. For the most part, migrant workers are people from the countries of the former USSR (primarily citizens of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan) who are willing to work actively, many speak Russian, are oriented towards Russia, want and are ready to register honestly, get permits documents and pay taxes. Many migrants have quite successfully adapted to the Russian labor market, some receive a temporary residence permit and a permanent residence permit, and many become citizens of Russia. This is partly evidence of their successful integration into Russian society. Given the demographic situation in which modern Russia is located, labor migration could not only replenish the cohort of labor resources on a temporary basis, but also increase the population of the country on a permanent basis. At the same time, the sociocultural consequences of labor migration for local societies and Russian society as a whole require additional study. In this regard, Russia needs to develop the infrastructure for the adaptation and integration of migrants into Russian society - to ensure access to learning Russian, medical services, education of children and migrants.


About the authors

Sergey V Ryazantsev

Institute for Socio-Political Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the MFA of Russia; Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
Email: riazan@mail.ru
6 Fotievoy St., bldg. 1, Moscow, 119333, Russian Federation; 76 Prospeсt Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation; 6 Miklukho-Maklaya St., Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation

Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Economics, Professor, Director of the Institute for Social and Political Studies, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Department of Demographic and Migration Policy, the MGIMO-University of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Professor of the International Economic Relations Department, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University).

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