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Mechanisms for attraction and involvement the international workers on the Russian labour market

Priority areas of development: economics
Department: Institute for Social Development Studies

Research object: migration policy in Russia and abroad.

The aim of the work: Proposal development for the improvement of the mechanisms of differentiated approach to the international workers attraction to the Russian Federation.

Empirical database: databases of administrative statistics from Federal Migration services agency (FMS), Rosstat, Ministry of Labour; Surveys about population and labor problems; Survey of NIS students’ migration potential (organized by HSE, 2013); migration statistics from EU, Canada, USA; migration legislation system of Russia and OECD countries; macroeconomic projection from Russian Ministry of economic development.

Research results:

There is no one, universal method for the demand on international labor force identification. In the countries receiving the labour migrants there are some approaches used in one complex system.

In this work we concentrated on the projection method to estimate the demand for international workers on Russian labour market using the data from Institute of Demography demographic projection (2013) and Ministry of Economic development macroeconomic approach (November 2013).

The correlation between economic growth rates, labour productivity and demand of labour market was demonstrated in the work. Political and economic changes in 2014 could lead to the decrease of labour market migration at least in 2 times, and in these conditions the government will face the problem of labour migrants’ number (that is now at the level of 6-7 mln.) limitation

The report analysis in details the concept and the plan of measures for Russian citizens’ mobility improvement (period 2014-2018) established by the Russian Government in 2014. The Russian spatial mobility (permanent and temporal) is compared with the mobility in some countries show the low level of local mobility and the relatively high levels of long-distance mobility. In these circumstances the tasks from the plan for attraction of labour migrants in the labour-deficit  regions is too expensive.   в России слабо развита локальная мобильность, а перемещения на дальние. The programmes of education and quality improvement for potential migrants and local mobility of population in depressive regions, creation of civil conditions for seasonal migration will give the stronger effect.

There is a widespread believe in Russian society that with the increase of migration activity the Russians could replace the majority of international workers for the labour market. The research found that the qualification of foreign and internal labour migrants is close to each other. They are concentrated in the industries with intensive physical labour (construction) or with low requirements to qualification (retail, service sector). Foreign migrants are generally used at the works without strict qualification requirements.

The substitution of  foreign workers by Russian internal migrants will influence significantly upon the labour markets of certain regions. In the regions with high number of international workers and high outflow (labour emigration), there are practically no chances for substitution.

Moreover the attraction of Russian workers for replacement of foreign ones will require the additional efforts for living conditions organization, additional payments to the Social Funds. May be in big cities the substitution procedure is possible, but the process requires the “spatial mobility” infrastructure (transport, renting market) development and wages increase.

There is a special case-study devoted to the problems of healthcare specialists (generally medical doctors) migration. Among measures for attraction the healthcare specialists to Russia the authors offer the following: special programmes for specialists with medical education received in Russia, bureaucratic barriers for diplomas and licenses nostrification removal, special internship programmes for the foreign specialists including those graduated from Russian universities, delegation on the regional level the rights to create programmes for healthcare specialists attraction, social-economic programmes for prevention the emigration of healthcare professionals.

One of the basic sources for selective migration policy is the attraction of the young specialists from abroad. In this case we can claim that developed countries actively recruit the students from other countries (converting educational migration into a labor one). This report is based on the analysis of surveys conducted by NRU HSE in 2013 devoted to the migration potential of students graduating from the higher education institutions (bachelors and masters) in post-Soviet republics.  According to these results only 12% want to move to the other country. The majority wants to migrate into Russia, but they are mainly concentrated in Central Asian republics, while the youth from Ukraine and Moldova are more oriented on Europe. On the other hand Russian students also hold the migration potential. It was estimated by the Institute of Demography and Institute of the Social Processes survey (was organized on 2013). According to it only 3-4 % of the most trained students were ready to move abroad.

In the beginning of ХХI century Western European countries in their migration policy are concentrated in attraction and selection of the professionals with hihjly demanded on European market skills. This category of migrants after the certain (on average after 4 years) time period and in case of long-term contract has a legal right to stay for a permanent residence. As a result these countries receive the additional economic effect – brain and skills gain, human capital and welfare as a result growth. In Russia the selective procedure is still a week side of the policy – it is not clearand transparent. Even new legal initiatives in the law “About legal status of foreign citizens” do not solve this problem.

The prudent migration policy is impossible without the reliable statistics. The authors established the suggestions for improving the above mentioned sources and offered the potential sources of statistical information about migrants. The authors offer the reform of the regular surveys system and the control of Federal Migration services agency data quality (especially on the stages of raw data input) as well as this data improvement.

The lack of reliable representative data about characteristics of migrants (including those about their wages) leads to the impossibility of the role of migration in Russian development estimation and prevents the answer on the question about the competition between migrants and local population.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results :

The results of the were used in expert reports on the project of documents developed by FMS within the Plan for RF migration policy (for the period until 2025)  realization and other statutory acts. Among the recent documents we can mention the project of the Federal Laws “About the cultural adaptation and integration of international migrants in Russia”, “About changes in the regulation of labor migration and patent system…”, “About immigration control in Russia”, “About asylum in the Russian territory”. There were also offers for improvement the different directions of migration policy for FMS.

The field of application: Migration policy, labour market policy


Денисенко М. Б., Козлов В. А. Демографические изменения, экономический рост и трудовая миграция в России, in: Развитие населения и демографическая политика. Памяти А.Я. Кваши. Москва : МАКС Пресс, 2014. С. 298-317. 
Varshavskaya E., Denisenko M. B. Numbers, trends and characteristics of Russia's economically inactive people // Социологические исследования. 2015. No. 5. P. 42-51. 
Денисенко М. Б., Козлов В. А., Фаттахова А. А. Современные тенденции денежных переводов мигрантов в России и в мире // Демографическое обозрение. 2015. Т. 2. № 3. C. 5-29.