Staunton, January 26 – Russia is attracting ever fewer immigrants from CIS countries and almost none at all from beyond their borders, a new study by the Moscow Institute of Social Research says; and if Moscow doesn’t adopt new policies, the country’s economy will soon begin to suffer and its population to decline still more rapidly.
The 55-page study, entitled “Migration Policy: Diagnostics, Challenges and Proposals,” by Ye.B. Deminttseva and N.V. Mkrtchayn of the Higher School of Economics and Yu.F. Florinskaya of the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service (csr.ru/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/20180126_Report-Migration-Web.pdf) is attracting widespread notice.
Current trends suggest, the authors say, that the CIS countries will soon exhaust themselves as sources for immigrant workers for Russia and that by 2024, there will no longer be a net inflow of such workers, a development that will place enormous constraints on the economy and push down the country’s total population.
The number of Central Asians arriving is falling by double digit percentages and that of Ukrainians and Moldovans even more because the latter can now go to other countries where salaries and wages are even higher. That pattern is unlikely to change anytime soon, the report says, unless Moscow takes dramatic action.
The Russian government, they say, needs to put in place a consistent policy rather than constantly changing it, something that increases uncertainty and thus drives away workers. It must also improve the path to legalization and promote the integration of foreign workers into Russian society.
If but only if those steps are taken, the new report says, will Russia be able to attract 400,000 to 500,000 gastarbeiters annually over the next decade and do so without sparking new social tensions within Russia.