Social Aspects Of Labor Migration In Russia


In the era of globalization, national economies are essentially involved in a single global reproduction process. At the same time, the functioning of the global economy largely depends on the formation of the international labor market. International labor migration has traditionally been one of the most important mechanisms for the development of the international labor market. It is organically included in the context of global processes, becoming an integral part of the modern world economic system. That is why labor migration is playing an increasingly important role in the development of the economy of individual countries and the world economy as a whole. For today's Russia, the issue of the impact of migration on development is very relevant. The country has come to understand the urgent need for reforms in migration policy. For many years, political and economic crises have made it impossible to see this complex problem. After all, it is illegal migration that feeds the "shadow economy" and reproduces many other accompanying negative processes in society. Today, it is very important to develop recommendations on the formation of migration policy based on the study of international labor migration in the context of global economic development trends, in conjunction with other processes and phenomena of economic life of the society. Given that the growing process of international migration is relatively recent and the understanding of this phenomenon is far from complete, it is imperative to make an objective assessment of the current situation in this area.

Keywords: Migrationsocial aspectstatelabor market


The ever-increasing labor migration in today's world is a challenge facing a growing number of States. Labor migration refers to the process of moving foreign nationals into a country for the purpose of temporary employment. The global community has identified this problem as one of the most pressing in the labor sphere. The European Social Charter, which has now been ratified by more than thirty countries (and has accordingly become a Party to the Charter), provides that citizens of any of the Charter Parties have the right to engage in any income-generating activity on an equal basis with citizens of that Party in the territory of any other Party, except for restrictions caused by compelling socio-economic reasons. According to Article 19 of the Charter, migrant workers who are citizens of one of the Parties, as well as their families, have the right to full social protection and assistance of the receiving State. The term "migrant worker's family" is understood to include at least the spouse of the worker and unmarried children at the age at which they are considered by the host State to be minors and dependent on him (Bryman, 2012). Democratism and commitment to the principles of humanism and tolerance are evident. In practice, however, the impact of policies that actively attract migrant workers in the face of the constant decline of indigenous populations is far from predictable. In a number of countries the expansion of the labor market with relatively inexpensive imported labor force is accompanied by aggravation of interethnic contradictions (which exist in a latent state in any modern state) and the social situation in general. The study of the modern transformation of the migration policy of the Russian Federation is of particular relevance in terms of ensuring regional security. Against the backdrop of globalization, there is a growing trend of migration processes that are taking on a new face in the process of globalization, increasing their impact on the political, social, economic and spiritual spheres of society (Alsted, 2005). In this situation, the main objectives of migration policy are to ensure national security of the Russian Federation, maximum protection, comfort and well-being of the population of the Russian Federation, stabilization and increase in the number of the permanent population of the Russian Federation, assistance in meeting the needs of the economy of the Russian Federation in the labor force, modernization, innovative development and hanging the competitiveness of its industries.

Problem Statement

Modern migration policy has a direct impact on the regional security of Russia. Thus, the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation until 2020 notes that uncontrolled migration contributes to the strengthening of nationalist sentiments and political and religious violent extremism and creates conditions for conflicts to arise. This fact requires an assessment by society and the development of an effective migration policy of the state in order to mitigate the negative impact of migration on the regional security of Russia as much as possible. Current trends in migration processes in certain regions of Russia create conditions for the development of a number of threats to its national interests, the consequences of which may have a negative impact on the national security of the state (Bednarikova, Bavorova, & Ponkina, 2016). As a result, there is a growing threat of uncontrolled migration. The main threats posed by international migration are the weakening of the territorial integrity of the state; the possibility of civil wars caused by the split of countries; the collapse of the existing system of international relations; the spread of terrorism; and the spread of diseases (Denisenko, Kharaeva, & Chudinovsky, 2003). There are no universal political mechanisms for regulating migration processes. Therefore, the task of the state policy in the field of migration processes in Russia is a clear and unambiguous articulation of goals as a necessary condition for the balance and balance of such policy.

Research Questions

The subject of this paper is social aspects of labor migration in Russia.

Purpose of the Study

The main goal of the work is to study social aspects of labor migration in Russia.

Research Methods

The empirical base of the research was formed by the data obtained on the basis of qualitative methods of sociological research. The main methods were questionnaires, biographical interviews with migrants and content analysis of documents. The respondents were selected according to the main characteristics of labor migration. Respondents were searched for using the snowball method.

Scientific publications address an important aspect in the study of migration potential, presented by theoretical approaches to the analysis of factors affecting the social and professional mobility of young people.

Migration from the perspective of international security and conflict resolution has been described in a number of studies (Bekker, 2003). Population problems in the Russian Far East, sociological research on migration, the study of labor and migration motivation of FEF graduates, and the functioning of the labor market in the Far East are reflected in the works of Far Eastern researchers.

The term "migration" (from Latin for "migratio") means displacement or resettlement. It is a complex social phenomenon that is large and diverse (Bok, Lim, Yang, & Yoo, 2016). Migration processes are a significant indicator of the socio-economic status of society (Lisowski, 2008). In general, the analysis of publications, in which migration is studied, allows us to identify three directions of movement of people: first, it is considered as a variety of spatial movement of the population, regardless of its nature and purpose; second, the spatial movement between settlements, permanent or temporary change of residence and work; third, the migration of the population leads to a territorial distribution (Eccles & Barber, 1999). A third type of migration is of particular research interest today, which tends to result in residents of one country with a very high population density moving to another country, where the population density is lower and there is a surplus of workplaces.

Thus, any territorial movement between different localities or states, regardless of duration, regularity and destination, constitutes migration (Denisenko et al., 2003).


Russia's integration into the international labor market means that international labor exchange has intensified in recent decades. For Russia, labor migration to non-CIS countries is significant. If the entry from the neighboring countries is much higher than the exit, it is the other way around abroad. Emigration from Russia can be divided into the following groups: ethnic (Jews, Germans, Greeks, Armenians) - for permanent residence; mass labor - to find a suitable job either temporarily or permanently.

In 2017, external migration accounted for only 17% of the total migration turnover, but it is precisely this migration that influences the change in the population of Russia.

Statistics on international migration are strongly influenced by changes in legislation. In particular, the sharp decline in the number of arrivals in 2015 appears to be due to restrictions on admissions of CIS nationals. In the following years, all Russian citizens who arrived for permanent residence from outside the country and foreign citizens and stateless persons who received a residence permit were included in the statistical records.

This situation has led to the minimization of flows of counted immigrants - in 2017 their number was the lowest in the last 50 years. Since the beginning of 2015, foreign citizens and stateless persons who received a temporary residence permit for the first time have been included in the statistical record. As a result, the number of immigrants increased by more than 100,000 or 54%. At the same time, both flows from the CIS countries (by 96.7 thousand people) and from non-CIS countries (by 3.9 thousand people) increased by 1.5 times.

Among all immigrants in 2016-2017, about 93% (261.5 thousand people) were former residents of the CIS countries, almost half of whom came from Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan (respectively, 45.9 thousand people, 42.5 thousand and 38.8 thousand people).

The Siberian and Far Eastern Federal Districts were the most attractive for such immigrants in 2016-2017. Among those who arrived from outside Russia for permanent residence in the regions of these districts - 99% came from the CIS countries. The North Caucasus and Southern Federal Districts are the most attractive for non-CIS immigrants, with 12.6% and 7.8% respectively. At the same time, it should be taken into account that a significant flow of immigrants to these federal districts are those who have arrived from Georgia, which is currently not a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Recorded emigration has been declining annually for two decades. However, its structure changes significantly by country of intended residence. In the early 1990s, the number of those who left for the CIS countries was 3-5 times higher than the number of those who left for non-CIS countries, in 2012-2016 their number was almost the same, starting from 2012, the number of emigrants to the CIS countries was twice as high as to other foreign countries.

Over time, two trends have become stable: a decline in the quality of arriving labor resources and a change in the motivation of most labor migrants. "New migrants" are much less educated, have language difficulties, and the decision to look for a job abroad for them is often the result of complete poverty and hopelessness in their home country.

All these characteristics significantly complicate the social adaptation of migrant workers, making it sometimes impossible. Not the perception of economic, legal, cultural and domestic traditions of the host country, which is increasingly taking on demonstrative forms - a natural result of the transformation of the social composition of migrants (Akerlof, Spence, & Stiglitz, 2001). But this cannot be the only explanation for this unfortunate situation. The other side of the problem is the level of protection of migrant workers themselves in the Russian labor market. The bulk of labor migrants have temporary employment, mainly in the private sector (Bazhenova & Lutsenko, 2014). Specific "migrant" employment sectors have already been identified: 60% of the respondents noted that they are only surrounded by visitors like themselves in the workplace. Less than a quarter of migrants worked on the basis of a written employment or civil law contract with their employer. 51% of those surveyed indicated that the employer may dismiss them at any time without prior notice. There are a number of negative aspects to employment "in the shadow scheme". It is common practice to pay not on time, but at the end of the work. About half of the employees surveyed noted that they were not sure if they would be paid at all by agreeing to such conditions. Only 20 per cent of migrants were paid for the additional time worked. 73 per cent of those surveyed received their salaries in cash without signing any statements or other documents. Only 17 % of migrants had the opportunity to receive paid leave, and 15% had the opportunity to receive sick leave. 

The employee's dependence on the employer on issues that are not directly related to the work process is unreasonably high. For 20 % of migrants, the employer is obliged to provide food, 37 % - housing, 12 % - medical services, and 5 % of respondents even receive cigarettes from the employer. About 20 % of migrants indicated that they were not able to move freely around the city and lived illegal due to lack of registration or illegal employment. When asked whether they knew where to turn in case of violation of their rights by the employer, only 13% of respondents answered in the affirmative, 75% said that they did not trust the court and other state institutions and were not ready to use them. At the same time, 70% of respondents said they intend to continue working in Russia, as it allows them to support themselves and their families.

Social protection of many migrant workers in the Russian Federation is still very low (Abercrombie & Turner, 2004). The main problems are the state of isolation of migrants from society (which is often beneficial to employers); mass involvement of migrants in the shadow economy.

A few years ago, a possible solution to the problem was seen as a drastic reduction in the flow of migrant workers to the Russian Federation. Nowadays, the unrealistic nature of this path is obvious. In the Russian Federation, since 1992, the ratio between the birth rate and mortality rate has been negative, resulting in a natural decline in the population by an average of 700,000 people annually. In the mid-2000s, mortality in the Russian Federation was twice as high as the birth rate.

At present, the retirement age reaches a relatively large generation, which was born in the first years after the end of the Great Patriotic War. As a result, in the coming years, the country is expected to experience an escalation in the shortage of labor resources in a number of sectors of the economy. Already now, this has prompted many regions to increase their foreign labor quotas every year, despite the fact that deviant behavior, which is often characteristic of migrants, complicates the crime situation and provokes negative reactions of the indigenous population.

In some constituent entities of the Russian Federation, the authorities carry out special measures for the social adaptation of migrants (Lutsenko et al., 2017). For example, in some regions centers for adaptation of migrants are opened, where migrants can take Russian language courses. The aim of these centers is not only to teach newcomers the language, but also to introduce them to local culture, history and traditions.


Population and labor mobility is one of the important features of modern demography. Exporting and importing countries, international organizations on migration improve legislation, mechanism of regulation of migration processes and flows, guided by principles of freedom and democracy taking into account national interests.

The International Labor Organization is unique among global organizations in that it has equal voting power among workers and entrepreneurs in the formulation of its policies with government representatives.

Global experience shows that labor migration provides undeniable benefits to both receiving and supplying countries. But it can also cause acute socio-economic problems.

In conclusion, migration has a significant impact on socio-economic development. The current situation requires a clear migration policy at the country level, as well as a well-functioning migration management system. One of the possible ways to improve the migration management system may be to make preliminary adjustments to the regional budget taking into account the social and economic consequences of migration. All of the above allows us to draw some conclusions:

1. Migration processes, while reducing their scale, determine the growth of the population in today's conditions and are extremely diverse in terms of social, ethnic and demographic composition of migrants.

2. Migration flows have varying degrees of impact on the social and economic situation and the individual elements of its social infrastructure.

3. The migration management system today is reduced to the fixation of arriving migrants and the adoption of restrictive acts. The consequences of different types of migration are not calculated.

State policy tools are used to neutralize the negative effects and enhance the positive effects of labor migration on the country. Miscalculations in the choice of migration policy guidelines cause an undesirable reaction in the form of an increase in illegal migration and subsequent social activity of returning migrants, etc. In this area, the ineffectiveness of strong, policy measures and the need for indirect, coordinating actions by States and Governments are particularly evident.


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28 December 2019

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Kallaur, V., Bogachenko, N., Spassky, E., Tyurina, Y., & Lutsenko*, E. (2019). Social Aspects Of Labor Migration In Russia. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2005-2011). Future Academy.