ACCORDING TO THE WORLD BANK MIGRATION FULL REPORT 2006
“MIGRATION AND REMITTANCE”
Economic motivations currently drive migration flows in Eastern and Central Asia. This was not the case in the initial transition period, which unlocked large flows reflecting the return of populations to ethnic or cultural homelands, the creation of new borders, political conflict, and the unwinding of restrictions placed on movement by the Soviet system. The collapse of communism encouraged a massive increase in geographic migration in the ECA region, including internal movements, cross-border migration within ECA, outflows from ECA, and some inflows from other regions. The formation of many new countries following the breakup of the Soviet Union “created” many statistical migrants—long-term, foreign-born residents who may not have physically moved, but were defined as migrants under UN practice.
Migration in Eastern Europe and the CIS is large by international standards. If movements between industrial countries are excluded, ECA accounts for over one-third of total world emigration and immigration. There are 35 million foreign-born residents in ECA countries. Overall, several ECA countries are among the top 10 sending and receiving countries for migrants worldwide. Russia is home to the second largest number of migrants in the world after the United States; Ukraine is fourth after Germany; and Kazakhstan and Poland are respectively ninth and tenth. Migration flows in ECA tend to move in a largely bipolar pattern. Much of the emigration in western ECA (42 percent) is directed toward Western Europe, while much emigration from the CIS countries remains within the CIS (80 percent). Germany is the most important destination country outside ECA for migrants from the region, while Israel was an important destination in the first half of the 1990s. Russia is the main intra-CIS destination. The United Kingdom, in particular, is becoming a destination for migrants from the ECA countries of the European Union (EU) who are temporarily barred from legal access to many of the other EU-15 labor markets. The number of undocumented migrants from ECA countries in Western Europe and the CIS is believed to be large but, by definition, is difficult to quantify. Currently, there are estimated to be upward of 3 million undocumented immigrants in the EU, and between 3 million and 3.5 million in Russia. International migration is often explained by a basic push-and-pull model: economic conditions, demographic pressures, and unemployment (“push factors”) in the sending countries work in coordination with higher wages, demand for labor, and family reunification (“pull factors”) in the migration receiving countries (Smith 1997).
Disparities in GDP per capita have widened considerably in the ECA. One simple explanation for migration trends among the ECA countries, based on traditional migration theory, is that widening disparities in GDP per capita drive migrants from lower-income to higher-income countries. Countries such as those of the former Soviet Union have attempted to equalize incomes among social groups and also among regions, which was accomplished through a massive and elaborate system of subsidies, transfers, and controlled prices. Like the migration flows they regulate, bilateral agreements have a strong bipolar regional orientation. Most of the agreements involving western ECA (82 percent) are with Eastern European countries. Likewise, a large majority (64 percent) of CIS bilateral agreements are with other CIS members, particularly Russia. The overall number of bilateral agreements increased rapidly in the 1990s, largely as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the breakup of Yugoslavia. Of the existing 92 agreements, 75 percent were signed after 1989. On the EU side, half of the existing bilateral agreements covering labor migration have been signed by Germany, the largest destination for western ECA migrants. the majority of migrants from Central and Eastern European countries move into Western Europe, the same is true for many migrants from the poorer CIS economies, particularly Moldova. While the majority of migrants from Central Asia travel to the resource-rich CIS countries (particularly Russia and Kazakhstan) many move west in search of higher earnings, toward the European Union (EU) and Turkey.
There are three main sources for migration data in the ECA countries, as well as in countries outside the region. These are population censuses, usually conducted once a decade; administrative statistics of persons crossing international borders; and surveys. This final category includes surveys targeted directly at migrant populations, as well as surveys designed for other purposes where migration-related questions are asked. Whereas censuses attempt to count stocks of migrants, administrative statistics are counts of flows of migrants. Surveys are useful for obtaining qualitative information about migrants and to serve as a check on the veracity of flow statistics from administrative sources. An increasing number of surveys of migrants have been conducted across the ECA region, both by the countries themselves as well as by international organizations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM). not clear whether an individual reported as “migrant” is a long-term mover, a temporary mover, a seasonal worker, someone on the move to another destination, an individual transitioning through a territory, a returning migrant, a member of a 28 Migration and Remittances: Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union family already residing abroad with no intention to work, a student (who may or may not undertake part-time employment), a refugee, a member of the staff of a foreign company in the country, or some other category of migrant. The breakup of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia created a large number of “statistical migrants.” The commonly accepted UN definition describes a “migrant” as a person living outside his or her country of birth. However, there was considerable migration among the states of the former Soviet Union. In 1989, there were 28 million persons who were residing in a republic other than the one in which they were born. This figure amounted to 9.8 percent of the Soviet population, which should be regarded as the number of “statistical migrants” that were created by the breakup of the Soviet Union, greatly contributing to the increase in the world stock of migrants. The bulk of these individuals were in the three Slavic states, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. In percentage terms, the countries with the largest migrant stock populations were Estonia, Latvia, and Kazakhstan. All of these countries were prime destinations for Russian and Russian-speaking migrants during the period after World War II.
Future Migration Patterns in the Former Soviet Union
Economic factors such as differences in per capita income drive migration patterns among the post-Soviet states in the short term. These will continue to be important but demographic factors also will play an important role. The Former Soviet Union countries divided to the two groups, in to the northern FSU- the Slavic and Baltic states and Moldova and to the southern FSU states – Central Asia and the Caucasus. The northern states are characterized by continued low fertility, aging populations, an excess of deaths over births and declining populations. The group’s population peaked in 1990 and is expected to decline over the next half century by about one-third to 149 million. By contrast, the southern FSU states have younger populations, above replacement-level fertility and continued growing populations. As a group these countries nearly tripled in size, from 25 million in 1950 to 72 million in 2000.
While the northern FSU states will have declining working age populations in even greater numbers than their overall population declines, most of the southern FSU states, with their youth bulges will have growing working-age populations with economies not growing fast enough to supply jobs. The Soviet Union was an almost self-contained migration space; the interconnectedness of FSU countries may cause people to favor destinations in that area over others.
During the 1980s, Russia’s population was growing as a result of both demographic and migratory factors. Starting in 1992 and expected to continue for the foreseeable future, the number of deaths has exceeded the number of births. Migration into Russia spiked sharply in the 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Under the medium-variant scenario used in the study, the EU is projected to have a net migration of 13.5 million and Russia to have a net migration of 5.4 million between 2000 and 2050.
Incentives for Migration: Empirical Evidence from Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
Neoclassical economic theory posits that it is differentials in wages among regions, or countries, that cause people to move from low-wage, high-unemployment regions to high-wage, low-unemployment regions. Extensions of neoclassical theory, called “the new economics of migration,” use households, families, or other groups of related people, rather than markets themselves, as their unit of analysis. These units operate collectively to maximize income and minimize risk. Thus, they often send one or more family members to other parts of the country, usually a larger city, or abroad to increase overall family income while others remain behind earning lower but more stable incomes. The complex system of ethnic homelands that make up the ECA countries further complicates migration patterns in several ways. For instance, when the Soviet Union broke apart, there were 53 different ethnic homelands, 15 of which became independent sovereign states. Across ECA, there were large diaspora populations living outside their ethnic homelands. Many thought that “return migration” to ethnic homelands of diaspora groups would dominate migration patterns during the early part of the transition period. It appears from available data that these ethnic causes of migration, namely “diaspora” migration, did dominate trends in the early 1990s, but that economic motives are now becoming the major factor influencing migration. Much diaspora migration was accompanied by 80 Migration and Remittances: Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union ethnic violence, resulting in large refugee and internally displaced populations. Ap
In all of the 15 countries of the FSU, the titular population increased its share of the total population. The alone exception was Russia, where the percentage of the Russian population fell slightly, likely owing to the high rate of natural decrease of the ethnic Russian population. In the eight countries of the western ECA region where data are available from both censuses, the titular population increased in only three. The share that ethnic Russians contributed to total migration into Russia peaked in 1992—the first year after the breakup of the Soviet Union—at two-thirds of total immigration. As the number of Russians migrating to Russia has declined, total migration to Russia has declined and the number of non-Russians going to Russia has increased, presumably for economic reasons. The share of non-Russians would presumably be even higher if undocumented and temporary migration were included.
One rather simple theoretical explanation for the migration trends among the ECA countries is the widening disparities in GDP per capita. Within countries such as the Soviet Union there was an attempt to equalize incomes among both social groups and geographic regions, which was accomplished through a massive and elaborate system of subsidies, transfers, and controlled prices. With independence and economic transition, levels of GDP per capita have widened considerably among the ECA countries, and now act as a factor. Though illustrative of the widening income levels among ECA countries during transition, these coefficients are somewhat misleading because the two countries with the highest and lowest per capita GDPs in 2002 were Slovenia and Tajikistan. Given the distance between the two and various other factors, there is not expected to be a lot of migration from Tajikistan to Slovenia. Among western ECA countries, even the country with the highest income, Slovenia, has an income less than two-thirds of the Western European average. Similarly, within the CIS, the two countries with the second highest incomes, Kazakhstan and Belarus, still have incomes only about two-thirds that of Russia, while Russian GDP per capita is eight times that of Tajikistan. The relative influence of ethnic versus economic factors partially explains the temporal trends in migration that took place across the ECA region since 1990. Yet, clearly the motivations for migration across the region have been complex and, for periods in the early 1990s, were partly driven by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This complexity combined with the poorness of the data used for measuring these flows make the statistical estimation of the determinants very difficult. What emerges from such studies is a complex picture indicating that expected income differences, the expected probability of finding employment abroad, and expected quality of life at home plays a strong role in the decision to migrate in many cases but can also be tempered by the influence of numerous other variables and the patterns vary considerably across countries For nearly all immigration countries, net migration was much higher in the early 1990s than after 2000. As shown in figure 3.3, in Russia the net migration rate went from 0.1 per thousand in 1991, the last year of the Soviet Union’s existence, to 5.4 in 1994 before falling back to almost the pretransition rate of 0.2 in 2003. Most of the other ECA countries that are now net recipients of migrants experienced a similar trend of either larger immigration or emigration in the early and mid-1990s as a result of ethnic reshuffling. However, much of the migration as a result of ethnic factors, whether voluntary or forced (or somewhere between the two), seems to have been a one-time event brought about by the increase in the number of states. Most of those who found themselves outside their ethnic homelands and who would migrate “back” home already have done so.