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Migration between CIS countries: trends and policy

Denisenko M. B., Choudinovskikh O.
The report is focused on both permanent and labor migration between the newly independent states, that quite recently were parts of one single country, and migration between them was internal rather than international. Until the late 1980-s migratory flows in the area were affected by the differences between the republics in the rates of population growth and quality of life. Immediately after the breakdown of the USSR, the volume and structure of international migration over its territory changed dramatically. Russia became the main destination for migrants from all over the former Soviet republics: between 1992 and 1999, about 6 million migrants from these countries arrived to the RF. The current migration situation in the CIS countries is characterized by absolute dominance of the inner flows within the region, the remaining position of Russia as the main destination for migrants from the other CIS countries, especially for the states of Central Asia, as well as significant volumes of temporary forms of migration. In 2000-2010 about 92% of permanent-type immigrants in the CIS area and about 75% of emigrants arrived from or moved to the counties of the CIS. Russia was a destination country for over 50% of all emigrants from CIS states on average, and in some cases - for more than 80% of the outflow. Despite the ongoing economic crisis scale of labor migration in the CIS is enormous. In 2011 Russian migration authorities issued over 1.2 million work permits and 0.9 million patents for work in private households. Migration regime in the CIS area is characterized by visa-free movements between the countries and implementation of a system of constraints: quotas for work permits, bans for professions for migrant workers, limited duration of stay and so on. Inefficient control over the enforcement of restrictive regulations supports the large scale of illegal employment of foreign workers in the CIS. Obvious differences between countries in the priorities of migration policy are connected with the different demographic trends and economic interests. Some countries try to encourage immigration from other countries, stipulate requirements for permanent residence of aliens and create preferences for naturalization. Other countries endeavor to influence the hosting countries to obtain guarantees for minimal social support and respect the rights of their citizens living abroad as temporary labor migrants. Gradually emerges common understanding for development of the organized forms of recruitment of foreign labor, training of migrant workers, integration programs, etc.