The official statistics of the sharp decline in the birth rate in Russia again raised to the fore the discussion of issues of labour migration.
About migration to Russia said, it would seem, is all and all. For people living in a xenophobic environment that fuels itself relevant views, it is clear that all the ills of the country from “non-Russians come in large numbers”, which mostly refers to the migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus.
For professionals involved in the migration and demographic problems professionally, also quite a long time all is clear: the population of Russia is declining and this secular trend. Here, the latest data of Rosstat, from January to December 2017, the birth rate in Russia decreased by 10.9% compared to the same period in 2016.
All this means that for the survival of the state needs resources — labor, and actually human. The country needs someone just to live on what regularly reminds the Director of the Institute of demography of the Higher school of economy Anatoly Vishnevsky. Otherwise it is not a country but a territory, and huge, that either you have to learn and equip themselves, or it will make other people…
However, in recent years the topic of migration has faded into the background, which also has its explanation. In the flow of the Russian government and most Russian media migration has long been a substitute for “the internal enemy”. For migrants, first of all, ethnically vague, you can always switch the focus of public attention in order to distract the citizens from their more real internal problems — a falling standard of living, reducing the quality and availability of education and health, the deterioration of the surrounding natural and social environment.
However, after 2014 the theme of migration in Russia for obvious reasons ceased to be relevant. Suddenly it became clear that our country has many external enemies, and the role of the internal enemy retreated to the “fifth column” — all of those in Russian society who do not support the international (and domestic) policy of the government.
In these circumstances, the problems of migration in Russia, both real and imaginary faded into the background. The focus of public attention shifted to the other side. However, the demographic problems of the country it did not disappear, moreover, they are compounded from year to year and this issue will have to be addressed.
The study of these problems is dedicated to the study of the Center for strategic research (CSR), which prepared a report on “Migration policy: diagnosis, challenges and suggestions”. In it, in particular, says that without international migration, Russia can not do, because “the overall decline in working age population until 2030, to 27 different forecasts, will be from 11 to 13 million people.”
In the Preface to this work, the head of “Human capital” CSR Ovcharova notes that even “if we manage to significantly improve productivity, increase employment of workers aged 55 years and older, to replace a number of routine occupations by robots, we will not be able to compensate by 2030, the loss of more than ten million people of working age”.
Citing these statistics, the researchers note that in Russia the overwhelming majority of foreign workers currently come from the CIS (95%). At a time, according to the Central Bank accounting data of foreign citizens in Russia remains about 4 million workers (depending on the season, this ranges from about 3.7 million to 4.1 million), specified when entering the goal. Still from 0.5 to 1 million are estimated to work in order to enter private or tourism purposes.
Since the early 1990-ies and to date, the depopulation of Russia amounted to 13 million people, however, migration (mainly from CIS countries) partially offset these loss of 9.3 million people, according to the report. Today migration is about 250-300 thousand people per year, but 2016 was renewed, and from 2017 again sharply increased the natural decline of the Russian population.
To compensate for these human losses can only be due to the influx of people from outside the country, however, as the report notes, “to date, the reserves are close ethnic and cultural migration in the post-Soviet countries is largely exhausted.” “The Russian population for the period 1989-2010 in Kazakhstan fell from 6.2 million to 3.8 million, in Kyrgyzstan — from 0.9 million to 0.4 million in Uzbekistan, according to official estimate, from 1.6 million to 0.8 million in other countries of Central Asia and Transcaucasia, the decline was even greater. Since that time their numbers continued to decline as a result of travel to Russia, and aging, depopulation of communities,” report the researchers.
Note that the Russian, who today remained in the countries of the former USSR, it is very difficult to return to Russia, since many of them quite fit into a new economy of their countries, have housing there, and on the historic home they are waiting for a bureaucratic ordeal and humiliation.
Meanwhile, the number of people coming to work in the Russian Federation is ethnically Russian Ukrainians and Moldovans the last three years was also continuously decreased. According to the drafters of the CSR report, of the nearly 4 million residents of the CIS countries, who arrived in Russia to work (according to the October 2017), the vast majority of 2.82 million people — were citizens of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Ukrainians — a little more than 332 thousand, and Moldovans — 157 thousand people. The researchers attribute this to the fact that “labour migrants from Moldova and Ukraine <…> there is an alternative in the form of leaving to work in Western countries (especially with the introduction of a visa-free regime with Europe)”.
During the presentation of the report, one of its authors — head of the Centre for qualitative research Institute for social policy, HSE Catherine Dementeva noted that the system for attracting highly qualified specialists (HQs), which in Russia at one time had high expectations, to date has not justified itself. The problem is that the main criterion of the high qualifications of a foreign specialist in Russia is the level of his salary, which in the Russian legislation is determined by the figure of at least 2 million rubles per year.
“From 2011 to 2016 were issued a little more than 150 thousand work permits for HQs. These rather modest results (compared with the total number issued to aliens permits to work in Russia, amounts to millions) can be explained in two ways. Or the Russian economy has no greater need in such specialists, or, more likely, Russia is still not competitive among developed countries on a set of conditions offered to such specialists,” the study says.
Among these conditions Demintseva, in particular, refers to the successful development of the economy, high wages. In its opinion, Russia it is first necessary to take care not so much highly qualified, but simply qualified specialists.
The authors of the report state that today with a strong objective needs of migrants (and due to the large decrease in the working population of the Russian Federation, but also because of depopulation), in a situation when repatriation migration models are almost exhausted, and the country attracts more and more people, poor knowledge of the Russian language “in Russia there is no policy of integration, which would include a program of naturalization (language training, the basics of statehood)”. In their opinion, introduced a system of testing for knowledge of Russian language, law and culture “is largely a sham” because it “involves virtually no learning, but only test knowledge, and at a very low level.”
Demographer Anatoly Vishnevsky, who took part in the discussion of the report focused on the fact that the needs of Russia in migrants differ from the needs of, say, densely populated European countries. According to him, “Russia is not Denmark, where the population density is such that people are worried that it comes too many workers. Russia has other problems — economic and demographic, for which migration is necessary to us”.
Experts believe that migration, and not only demographic and economic but also social, will be one of the main problems of the Russian Federation in XXI century. In this regard, “we need to create an atmosphere around migrants, which would make them full-fledged citizens of Russia,” said Wisniewski.
Director of the Center for theoretical and applied political science at Ranepa Vladimir Malakhov, in turn, stressed that he disagrees with the common view that people coming to Russia and Western countries from Asia and Africa, do not want to integrate, that they are dreaming, as if to impose new homeland, their customs and culture. “It is a myth that needs to fight,” he said, noting that in fact just the opposite.
“It’s hard to imagine a person who travels to another country to nurture its identity. He arrives not to do this, but in order to raise their material level, to integrate into the new environment and give a future to their children — that is the motivation of most migrants. They are ready and willing to adapt, understanding that is not achieved material prosperity, if not to integrate,” — said the expert. And full integration, according to Malakhov, maybe only when it involves “structural aspects: the full inclusion of people in society, housing, legal employment, training children in school and so forth.”