1. The State, in the person of its control bodies, is interested in curbing unemployment and preserving jobs for the country’s own population1. However, it should be understood that the existing interrelations between migration and labor markets are very complex, and so cannot be reduced to this simple formula: crisis – aggravation of the unemployment problem – redistribution in favor of the local population of the jobs previously held by migrants – departure / homecoming of ‘redundant’ migrants. In Russia, just as in many developed countries, migrants and the local population occupy different niches in terms of labor conditions, professional qualification, or even sectors of the economy2. Labor migrants can easily find jobs that hold no attraction for the local population because of unsatisfactory or hard working conditions, seasonability and low wages. In some localities, though, the crisis could conduce to a slight rise in the popularity of some previously undesired jobs and to a respective increase in competition on the low-skilled segment of the labor market. However, that was not the case in most Russian regions. The sectoral preferences of labor migrants (construction, wholesale and retail trade, processing industries, communal and personal services, public transport, agriculture) which have remained unchanged for a number of years do not match the sectoral structure of employment of the local population3 (Figure 4). Approximately the same sectoral-qualificational dichotomy between the local population and migrants (which effectively ensures the completeness and integrity of the labor pyramid) also exists in the developed countries of the world. So, when the State resorts to direct measures (such as quota reduction4) and attempts to Various statements with regard to this subject were plentiful throughout 2009 and early 2010. The latest of them was made by Chairman of the RF Government Vladimir Putin in the course of his meeting with the head of the Federal Migration Service, Konstantin Romodanovskii, on 17 February 2010: ‘Like all European countries, Russia should try to attract foreign workers with the qualifications our economy needs, and attract them to the sectors where they are most needed. Also, this should be done in a way that does not create unnecessary competition on the labor market between foreign workers and Russian citizens, at least during the continuing economic downturn’ // the website of Chairman of the RF Government Vladimir Putin http://premier.gov.ru/events/news/9427/ According to a staffer of one of the employment agencies, migrants are needed ‘…where some form of physical labor is required… Take, for example, the plants that also frequently apply for the services of employment agencies – motor vehicle plants or plants producing dairy or confectionary goods … It is clear that native Muscovites would be unlikely to take a job as a loader … Nowadays, Muscovites reject any jobs involving physical labor, they do not take such vacancies’. // Mukomel’ V. I., Kuznetsov I. M., Livshin A. Ia, Polunov A. Iu, Batovrina E. V. Sotsiologicheskii analiz problem trudoustroistva migrantov: tochka zreniia recrutingovykh agentstv [A sociological analysis of the issues of placing migrants into jobs: the point of view of recruitment agencies]. M.: Center for Student Initiatives, Department of State and Municipal Administration, Lomonosov Moscow State University; Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2008.
In this connection, it is not easy to understand why it has been declared that our policy’s priority should be the attraction of highly qualified specialists from abroad.
Chairman of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovskii said in this regard: ‘Toughening up the procedure for work permit issuance has made it possible for us to issue 30 % fewer permits to foreign citiSection Social Sphere ‘shield’ the labor market from migrants, by doing so it does not really create preferential conditions for the majority of the local population – instead, it promotes the latent presence of migrants on the labor markets. Moreover, the dynamism of the functioning of local labor markets and the ability of the State to control such extremely complex processes as migration have been greatly overestimated. Such illusions are, in fact, the consequence of a ‘technocratic’ attitude to people and the Soviet experience of implementing major state projects of any kind and magnitude (from construction of a chemical plant in the town of Uvarovo to the Baikal-Amur Railway to the ‘Virgin Lands’ campaign).
Fig. 4. Sectoral employment structure of Russia’s and Moscow’s population and of foreign workforce (2008, %) 2. Employers have their own reasons for employing semi-legal workers. The toughening of Russian labor legislation1 and the predominance of the ‘market employer’ over the ‘market worker’ resulted, among other things, in a rise in the proportion of informally employed labor: employment surveys indicate that in September 2009 the share of such labor in Russia’s total employment was as high as 21.7 %, whereas one year prior to the onset of the zens and thus to protect the Russian worker’ // The website of Chairman of the RF Government Vladimir Putin http://premier.gov.ru/events/news/9427/ For more details, see Kapeliushnikov R. I. Konets rossiiskoi modeli rynka truda [An end of the Russian model of the labor market] M., 2009.
RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks crisis, in November 2007, it was 17.1 % 1. Migrants – who by definition enjoy fewer rights than ‘the natives’ - began to fall into the ‘trap’ of illegal employment because employers became even more reluctant to legalize their employment status. The crisis has in no way shattered the existing system of incentives for employers to attract migrants from other countries (lack of Russian workers with the necessary specialties, the predictable quality of migrants’ work, and their submissiveness to their employer). Moreover, some of these motives (for example, the desire to save on wages – because migrants usually agree to work overtime and to skip their weekends and holidays for the same pay) have even become more prominent as a result of the crisis.
The survey conducted by the Center for Migration Studies demonstrated that even in the pre-crisis period the average workday of a migrant was 9 hours. By May 2009 (the second ‘wave’ of the survey) it had increased to 10 hours. The duration of a working week remained practically unchanged, but even during the first phase of the survey it was 5.9 days2. At the same time, both in 2008 and in 2009 the average workday of a migrant without a work permit was longer than that of those with work permits (Table 1). Thus, the average working week in May 2009 was 59 hours, which is indicative of an increased workload both by comparison with the pre-crisis period and with the results of other pre-crisis surveys conducted by G. S.
Vitkovskaia (in 2006 – 53 hours)3.
The stronger trend towards illegal employment of migrants can be demonstrated by the changes in the index describing the form of payment of wages. Among those who had work permits, in 2008 the wages were paid in accordance with payment records (fully or in part, when part of the wages was recorded in the accounting documentation, and part was paid offrecord (‘in an envelope’)) to 78 % of migrants, and in 2009 – to 71 % of migrants (which means that the illegal segment increased among those who had opportunities for legal employment). Besides, the size of wages – for those with and without work permits alike – could no more be applied even as a ‘weak’ index of the ‘normality’ of work, when the wages of illegal workers were lower than those of the legal ones. In this connection, the amount of wages did not decline – instead, it even increased4. On the whole, it is close to the average nominal level of wages across Russia (in April 2009 – 18,287 rubles). Similar proportions of the wages paid to Russians and to migrants were observed in the pre-crisis surveys: thus, for example, in the Rosstat: Obsledovanie naseleniia po problemem ÿaniatosti [Employment Survey]. Rosstat. November 2007;
We should like to cite here an employer’s opinion recorded as part of Yu. F. Florinskaia’s survey during a focus group meeting with employers: ‘With us, they work not 8 but 14 hours, and without any Saturday or Sundays off. And we pay them for speed and quality. There exist certain time limits for them to complete the project. And that is why they work without Saturday or Sundays off, and without leaves.’ // Materials of Yu. F.
Florinskaia’s presentation ‘The practices of migrant employment during the period of crisis’ at the regional experts’ meeting ‘Partnership of the CIS countries in the sphere of migration: a search for coordinated decisions’ (Moscow: The Institute for Economic Forecasts of the RAS – the Center for Migration Studies, 24 – September 2009).
Problemy nezakonnoi migratsii v Rossii: realii i poisk reshenii (po itigam sotsiologicheskogo obsledovaniia).
[The problems of illegal migration in Russia: the realities and the search for solutions (by the results of a sociological survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the IOM Bureau in Russia (Ed. By G. S. Vitkovskaia). M.: Gendalf’, 2006, p. 122.
The average size of earnings depends on the sector of employment, the quality of the labor force., the territory of preferential employment and other factors the comparison with which without no correct description of migrant earnings can be possible.
Section Social Sphere study conducted by Ye. V. Tiuriukanova (June 2003) the average wage of illegal migrants was 5,338 rubles (approx. 176 USD), while the country’s average wage was 5,591 rubles (or USD)1. In G. S. Vitkovskaia’s survey conducted in 2006, 50 % of migrants believed that their pay was the same as that of the locals.Table Influence of Work Permit on Some Features of Migrant Employment Work permit Index Phase of survey Yes No 2008 9.2 9.Workday duration (hours per day) 2009 9.7 10.2008 78.0 30.Entry of wages in payment records (in full or in part), % 2009 71.0 31.2008 15.8 14.Amount of wages, thousand rubles 2009 18.2 20.Source: Obsledovanie TsMI [The Center for Migration Studies’ Survey], 2008, 2009.
3. Migrants: their desire to find work at any cost and to be able to help their families in the poor countries of the CIS could also increase the level of informal migrant employment.
The differences in payment for labor and in the levels of unemployment, boosted by the increased labor supply on the part of the major donor countries whose population is rapidly increasing and becoming more mobile, has made Russia extremely attractive in the eyes of labor migrants in the past few years (Table 2).
Table Selected Socioeconomic Indicators for CIS Countries, 2008 and Average number of Average wage of migrant worker unemployed per- Average nominal GDP at purchasing in Russia according to Center for Country sons according to wage, USD, Aug power parity, USD, 2008 Migration Studies’ surveys, Rb, ILO standards, Aug – Sept 2008 ã. / May 2009 ã.
Azerbaijan 6.0 7,770 317 17,090 / 26,Armenia 16.4 6,310 293 18,491 / 17,Belarus 0.9* 12,150 Kazakhstan 6.3 9,690 485 15,716 / 17,Kyrgyzstan 8.2 2,130 137 14,092 / 16,Moldova 5.7 3,210 230 14,745 / 17,RF 8.2 15,630 Tajikistan 7,4 1,860 63 15,808 / 15,Uzbekistan 2,660 14,769 / 15,Ukraine 9,1 7,210 356 18,206 / 18,Turkmenistan 6,210 * According to registration records as of the end of the year.
Note. Migrants from Belarus and Turkmenistan were not questioned in the survey.
Source: data of the CIS Statistics Committee http://www.cisstat.com/rus/, Demoscope Weekly http://demoscope.
ru/weekly/ app/world2009_3.php, Obsledovanie TsMI [The Center for Migration Studies’ Survey], 2008, 2009.
Tiuriukanova Ye. V. Pronuditel’nyi trud v sovremennoi Rossii: nereguliruemaia migratsiia i toprgovlia liud’mi. [Forced labor in modern Russia: unregulated migration and the trade in humans]. 2nd ed.. ILO, Geneva, 2006, p. 59.
Problemy nezakonnoi migratsii v Rossii: realii i poisk reshenii (po itigam sotsiologicheskogo obsledovaniia).
[The problems of illegal migration in Russia: the realities and the search for solutions (by the results of a sociological survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the IOM Bureau in Russia in Russia (Ed. by G. S. Vitkovskaia). M.: Gendalf’, 2006, p. RUSSIAN ECONOMY IN trends and outlooks The CIS countries have been hit by the crisis at least as severely as Russia. As a result, the economies of the Central Asian countries – which had been weak and dependent even before the crisis – were then faced with ‘export’ of unemployment, a problem that they cannot not adequately cope with. The surveys carried out in Tajikistan and Moldova have revealed that the number of arrivals of labor migrants in 2009 was 15 – 25 % lower than that recorded in the summer season of 2008.
The survey conducted by the Public Opinion Department of the Shark Research Center (Tajikistan)1 indicated that the seasonal winter outflow (2008/2009) of migrants from Russia into Tajikistan was one-third less than normal because part of the migrants stayed on in Russia in order to ‘see how the situation would develop’. Therefore the arrival curve in Tajikistan was ‘less steep’ than usual, while the spring departure in search of foreign earnings, on the contrary, was more ‘protracted’. Some of the migrants elected to wait in Tajikistan for the crisis to subside, while at the same time making no strategic plans for reintegrating in Tajikistan and still relying, in a longer term, on their future seasonal earnings in Russia2. As a result, the overall number of migrants dropped by 20 %. The data collected during the survey demonstrated that ‘migration is influenced not so much by the crisis (its comprehensive impact having been noted by 13.7 % of the respondents) as by the tougher attitude of the Russian law enforcement agencies to migrants, the desire of employers to compensate for their losses resulting from the crisis at the expense of migrants, and the increasing amount of formal and informal payments’.