Saturday, March 10, 2018

Immigrant Workers with Lowest Skills and Incomes Most Likely to Want to Remain in Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 10 – Many Russians have worried for a long time that the influx of migrant workers could change the ethnic mix of their country, but they have seldom focused on the way in which the low-skills of the group of them that most wants to remain is affecting the quality of the Russian work force.

            That may now change as a result of a new study by scholars at the National Research University of the Higher School of Economics which shows that gastarbeiters from Belarus, Moldova and Georgia who have more education and skills earn the most among such workers while those from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan who have less of both earn the least.

            Those differences have long been known, but the study says that the lower-skilled Tajiks and Kyrgyz are far more interested in remaining in Russia than are the Belarusians or Georgians (

            According to the research, “gastarbeiters from Russia earn the most of all,” on average about 41,100 rubles (680 US dollars) a month. Among Georgians, legal immigrants earn 35,900 rubles a month and illegal ones 33,500 rubles. And among Ukrainians, 30,800 and 30,200 for these categories respectively.

            At the bottom of the income pyramid consisting of gastarbeiters, those from Tajikistan receive only 27,900 and 25,100 rubles for the two categories, Uzbeks, 29,000 and 27,200; and Kyrgzy 29,300 and 27,200.

            Most immigrants in both categories work far more hours a week than do Russian cities, 59 hours compared to 39.6 hours; and they are found most often in retail and wholesale trade and communal and personal services. There share in construction has fallen from 23.1 percent in 2011 to 16.4 percent now, while that among servants has almost doubled in the same period.

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