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Influx of legal migrants to Russia decreases for 1st half of year

«The influx of legal migrants to Russia in the first half of 2017 fell to six-year minimum,» the Russian media reported citing data of the Russian Institute for Social Analysis and Forecasting.

According to the authors of the monitoring, the resource of labor from the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (unites Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia) has been exhausted already in 2016.

It is specified that amid a decline in the birth rate, migrants have completely stopped compensating for the natural decline in the population. According to Rosstat, for the first half of the year, their influx compensated for losses only by 85.7 percent.

The main reason for the migration outflow is the economic crisis that brought down the cheap labor force market.

But not only difficult economic situation forces the migrant workers to leave Russia. They are also forced to leave by the current employment procedure, which involves the acquisition of a license, the purchase of a voluntary medical insurance policy, and the passing of an exam for knowledge of the Russian language and the history of Russia: all this costs 20,000-30,000 rubles.

«To attract the migrants and increase their inflow to the labor market, one should try to keep all who came to study in Russia and facilitate their obtaining of citizenship in the conditions of a global competition for qualified personnel,» Liliya Ovcharova, Director of the Institute for Social Policy of the Higher School of Economics, said.

According to the Federal Migration Service, the number of registered migrants decreased by one third, and the number of issued permits reduced by almost half. The sum of remittances from Russia to the CIS countries has also undergone noticeable changes, declining by 35.1 percent.

Until 2014, the average salary of a labor migrant was 25,000-30,000 rubles. He or she exchanged a half of this amount into dollars and sent home. Now the money transfer is at best $ 200 and therefore does not make sense. Many migrants have loans in foreign currency in their homeland. With the current exchange rate of the ruble, it became impossible to pay them.

The devaluation of the ruble and the related drop in incomes make guest workers look for a job in another country.

«A part of the migration flows may flood into Kazakhstan and Belarus. But many have arrived from there. For example, more than half a million of Kazakhstanis work in Russia. They are not considered as labor migrants here. Their status in the general labor market is equal to the Russians and the Belarusians. Now these people will just return to their homeland, where they also have no work. Russia annually receives more than 10 million guest workers. If most of them rush back to Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Moldova, Ukraine, this will mean «re-export» of unemployment and nothing more,» experts believe.