Staunton, October 1 – The number of immigrants entering Russia in the first six months of this year fell to a six-year low, ceasing to compensate for the overall decline in the number of Russians as a result of deaths over births and especially for the decline, currently projected at 800,000 a year in the number of those in the prime working age cohorts.
“The number of those arriving has become less, while the number leaving has increased, Moscow political analyst Valery Vyzhutovich says, citing new research by the Institute for Social Analysis and Prediction of the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service (politcom.ru/22814.html).
According to that study, the potential for new immigration flows from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia “was exhausted already in 2016.” Moreover, ever fewer people are moving to Russia from Moldova and Ukraine, and the number of those coming from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is falling even before pre-crisis levels.
Russia’s economic crisis is the main reason people are leaving and going home, something that is reducing the size of the workforce in Russia and cutting as well the size of transfer payments from workers in Russia to their homelands. Many workers are now in debt and can’t hope to pay their loans off.
One consequence, Vyzhutovich says, is that people who earlier had come to Russia and have since returned home are now seeking work in other countries such as Kazakhstan and Belarus, although precise statistics aren’t available. There are still 2.6 million Ukrainians in Russia as refugees, but “so far Russia hasn’t been able to make use of it.”
According to experts, the commentator says, “the demand for workers in Russia will continue to grow, but there is as yet no way to compensate for the deficit of young cadres.” A new Russian generation will appear in 15 or 20 years, but “a demographic bottom will be reached before” that happens.
Unfortunately, many Russians have xenophobic prejudices about immigrants and completely fail to recognize how important immigrant workers are to their country – and how much will be lost if more immigrants aren’t attracted to come to work in Russia in the coming decades.