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Uncontrolled inflow of migrants harmful for Russian economy

November 16, 2012, 17:27 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, November 16 (Itar-Tass) — The state authorities and businesspeople in Russia are encouraging the inflow of the unqualified foreign manpower in the country. Their inflow is growing every year and is becoming uncontrolled. It seems to them that the labour of migrants will make up for the shortage of manpower and will promote the development of Russian economy. However, the experts warned that the disadvantages of the inflow of labour migrants may overweigh all positive effects in the long run. The massive arrival of foreign migrants in Russian cities can cost the country much more than the current profits of business from low salaries of gastarbeiters.

The majority of the Russian population actually agreed on this fact. Today more than a half of Russians have a negative attitude to the inflow of migrant workers and demand it should be restricted.

According to the estimates of the Federal Migration Service (FMS), about five million migrants live in Russia, including 3.5 million illegal migrants. Non-governmental experts believe that, according to the money transfers to other countries, about ten million migrants are staying in Russia.

According to other statistical reports given by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily, about 13-14 million foreigners are arriving in Russia every year, the overwhelming majority of them are citizens of the CIS states. Some 9.5 million foreigners are staying constantly in the country, only about 1.5 millions of them work and study on the legal basis.

“Such a high share of illegal migrants proves that the government does not really control their inflow,” the newspaper believes. “The influx of the unqualified manpower is actually encouraged at all levels of the state power hierarchy,” the newspaper reported.

The inflow of migrants is needed for the replenishment of the labour resources, FMS head Konstantin Romodanovsky said at a meeting of the committee for migration issues of the Russian Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations at the beginning of this month. “Due to a falling birth rate the migration is performing the function of replenishing the human resources. In many Russian regions local labour markets already have not only a relative, but also absolute deficit of manpower,” Romodanovsky noted.

According to the average forecast of the Federal State Statistics Service, the Russian population will go down to 139 million people by 2030, he remarked. “It is difficult to imagine our country in 50 years, if this tendency will continue,” he said, noting that the influx of migrants is inevitable.

The business yields major profits from the inflow of gastarbeiters thanks to lower expenses on taxes and the monetary remuneration. The employment of the migrant workers is accompanied with the statements that Russian citizens do not agree to have such low-paid jobs.

President of the Russian business association OPORA ROSSII Sergei Borisov told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily that over a hard demographic situation in Russia the shortage of staff that hampers the business development is already becoming acute. “Without massive replenishment of the labour resources from other countries we will not be able to bring Russian small business on a qualitatively new level, but also to secure the economic growth planned in Russia,” Borisov pointed out.

However, the experts adhere to another opinion.

“On the contrary, the influx of migrants is whipping up the stagnation in our economy, because absolutely unqualified people without the higher education and sometimes without the secondary school education are arriving in our country,” the portal quoted Director of the Institute of Demographic Studies Igor Beloborodov as saying. “Today our small business is not so innovative that the best programmers, best scientists and best managers can be invited. We have a stagnating economy. It will be backward until we are putting a stake on the CIS migrants from other cultures. In some sense it is putting a bridle on us,” he remarked.

In his view, the businesspeople “are offered a throwback for Russia in the Stone Age.” “The stake on migrant workers is detrimental for our country,” the expert underlined.

“The benefit from the gastarbeiters is quite disputable for the economy. It is not needed to speak about the benefit for the economy, but about the size of profit to businesspeople. These problems are pressing and obvious for the society. The migrant workers are bringing down the size of salary and are stirring up quite natural interethnic tensions that are growing into conflicts and protests,” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily quoted chief for legal practice in the audit consulting group Ural Union Dmitry Shiryeyev as saying. The employment of the unqualified manpower is inevitably slowing down the modernization, he said.

“Russia is badly short of staff in the construction industry, public utilities and other services. But the labour migration has a negative impact on the growth of the labour productivity, because it is more profitable to use a cheap manpower sometimes than replace this staff with the mechanised labour. The migrant workers are ready to receive a lower salary, many of them work illegally and do not pay any taxes. This factor is cutting the job opportunities for local residents on the labour market and inflicts direct damages to the budget,” chief of the audit department of the FinExpertiza Company Alexander Dorofeyev pointed out.

One more negative factor, which the analysts noted, is far-reaching negative consequences that many millions of residents with alien standards of life and social conduct to the local population are coming in the country. The local population is feeling this negative tendency.

The recent sociological survey, which the Levada Centre conducted, reported the historical maximum in the level of dissatisfaction of Russian citizens with the migrants. For instance, last August 70% of Russian respondents stated that they have a negative attitude to the gastarbeiters. Only from 27% to 31% of Russians took the migrants in the negative way ten years ago. On the contrary, the share of those, who have a positive attitude to the inflow of migrants, is sharply on decline. Today their percentage makes about 11%, while about 30% of Russian citizens had a positive attitude to the labour migrants ten years ago.