Crisis or Not, Russia Is Attracting Foreign Workers

Meanwhile, Ukraine, Moldova and Baltic States see outflows

 
Fri, Apr 1, 2016
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One of the marks of a successful state is a positive net migration rate, when those entering the country exceed those who leave it. 

Last year wasn’t Russia’s most successful, as the economy adapted to a devalued Ruble and cheap oil prices. But despite these problems, migrant workers kept coming.

Let’s refer to World Factbook by American CIA  — the most reliable source of information according to Russian liberals, Ukrainian nationalists and other Russophobes. Langley experts came up with a net migration rate for the last year. I’ve chosen only those it makes sense to compare Russia with: post-Socialist states. 

Rumors about robust competition between migrant workers from the Ukraine (– 2.25) and Uzbekistan (– 2.37) are obviously correct.

Suspicions about the Baltic Tigers have been also confirmed: they do not do as well as it seems from afar, and as they sometimes claim. The net migration rate in Lithuania (– 6.27) and Latvia (– 6.26) are even higher than those in Armenia (– 5.80) and Kyrgyzstan (– 5.22), the real leaders of the CIS in the area.  

Only Estonia (– 3.60) looks a little better, but that’s relative. Albania (– 3.30), Morocco and Chad have nearly the same net migration rate, and they can hardly be called prosperous. Cuba too (– 3.66) is not considered to be a rich country.  

In Moldova (– 9.67) things are probably really bad. Perhaps worse than in Syria, which has been at war for the last 5 years, or small island states like Nauru and Samoa in Micronesia, where jobs are strictly limited to coast. 

And the net migration rate in Somalia, that we are used to comparing with the Ukraine, Georgia (– 2.70) and other poor independent states and recent rich Soviet republics, is little better than in Moldova. I can understand Moldovans rushing to their neighbors: Romania (– 0.24) must be like heaven on earth in comparison. 

Russia (+ 1.69) is among the countries with reasonable rates together with Malta, the Netherlands, Hong Kong. And this time, the difference can’t be explained by oil and gas. First, because Azerbaijan (0.00) and particularly Turkmenistan (– 1.84) both exporting hydrocarbons as we do, have net migration rates much lower than Russia. Also, oil was cheap last year, so it can’t be used as an argument.

Maybe it’s not only an active hydrocarbon trade that positively influences the immigration rate. For some reason migrant workers continue to come to the country with a supposedly ruined economy, a flow that will be difficult to stop. 

When an economy is in ruins, the population goes in search of a better life, as with most of the countries of Central Asia, Georgia, the Ukraine - or Syria or Somalia. Russia’s capacity for resistance and recovery was probably underestimated. 
We may have many problems, but things are not as bad as our enemies wished them to be a year ago.

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