International labour migration: features and consequences

International labour migration – (a) the movement of human resources across the borders of certain territories with a change of permanent residence or with a return to it; b) the movement of the able-bodied population from one country to another in search of work.

International labor migration as a process is a unity of emigration, immigration, re-emigration.

Emigration is leaving the country for permanent or temporary, but long-term residence in another country.

Immigration – entry into the country for permanent or temporary residence from another country.

Re-emigration is the return of emigrants to their homeland to their permanent place of residence.

The causes of international labor migration are divided into economic and non-economic. Economic include:

differences in the level of economic development of individual countries, and as a consequence different levels of wages, life, social security; differences in the level of availability of labor resources in individual countries; the existence of chronic, relatively high unemployment in developing countries.

Non-economic reasons for labor migration: political, military, religious, environmental, racial, family, cultural, etc.

The main types of international labour migration are:

international resettlement migration; international labour migration.

Historically, initially, resettlement migration of the population prevailed, i.e. such migration, as a result of which a significant part of the population of the USA, Canada, Australia and some other countries was formed. It assumed the movement of migrants across the borders of states and the change of residence forever.

International labor migration, unlike resettlement migration, implies the preservation of a permanent connection of the migrant with his homeland.

In practice, it is quite difficult to separate these types of migration from each other. The term “migrant worker” is defined in International Labour Organization Conventions Nos. 97 and No. 143 and states that a “migrant worker” is a person who migrates or has migrated from one country to another for the purpose of obtaining employment. This definition also includes any person who has lawfully entered the country as a migrant worker. However, it does not include borderline and seasonal workers, persons of liberal professions and some other categories. Because of this inconsistency, the statistical indicators characterizing labour migration are somewhat underestimated and do not give a complete picture of the extent of this phenomenon in the world economy. But available statistics show how important a role migrants play both in the economies of the countries where they come (recipient countries) and in the economies of their home countries that they temporarily leave (donor countries).

The International Organization for Migration identifies five main types of international migrants:

settlers – people who come to the country for permanent residence; contract workers – people who are accepted on the basis of the understanding that they work for a limited period of time; professionals – people with a high level of education, work experience, who can easily enter the teams working in this specialty and at this level or retrain to work in another country (a significant number of them are researchers, teachers, students and trainees, employees of transnational corporations moving from one branch to another; illegal immigrants – people who came to the country illegally, or have expired visas, or are engaged in labor activity without having an official permit to do so; asylum seekers and refugees are people who have left their countries under the threat of any significant danger (military, religious, environmental, political and others).

In world practice, the following classification of forms of labor migration has developed:

1) in the following directions:

from developing to developed countries; between developed countries; among developing countries; from post-socialist countries to developed countries; migration of researchers and skilled workers from developed to developing countries;

(2) By territorial coverage:

intercontinental; inland;

3) by time:

irrevocable (usually intercontinental); temporary (usually inland); seasonal (trips to earn money); pendulum (in the border areas of different countries);

4) according to the degree of legality:

legal; Illegal.

A feature that characterizes the modern stage of labor migration is a significant increase in illegal migration. Since in many countries Governments regulate the flow of foreign labour by legislative means, the illegal entry of foreign labour across State borders has increased significantly. In the United States, for example, about 13 million immigrant workers live illegally, entering the Mexican-American border, florida and other places. About 90% of foreigners entering the U.S. illegally are Mexicans. This is explained by the fact that in 1965 the agreement between the United States and Mexico expired, according to which a significant part of the Mexican “relatively surplus population” could legally come to the United States to work in agriculture. The refusal of the US government, due to the demand of American trade unions, to extend this agreement led to the fact that the number of Mexicans entering illegally increased to 700 thousand per year, while in 1960 this figure was less than 28 thousand.

Labour migration has spread not only to large countries, but also to small ones. This can be seen in the example of Greece, in which 300-350 thousand work without the permission of the authorities. Most of the “illegal immigrants” in the Greek labor market are residents of Albania, the Philippines and Pontic Greeks from the former USSR. They do not apply for well-paid jobs in factories, factories, institutions. The presence of a large number of illegal workers results in a huge loss for the Greek treasury in the form of unpaid taxes.

In the Republic of Belarus, the problem of mass illegal immigration from Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East has also worsened. Illegal migrants arrive in Belarus using the channels of tourism, transit travel, visa-free entry on official and private business, and also directly violate the rules of entry. Often, illegal immigrants consider Belarus as a transit state for subsequent illegal emigration to the countries of Western Europe. Currently, about 200 thousand foreign citizens live illegally in the country. The number of attempts to violate the state border of the Republic of Belarus by illegal migrants has increased sharply.
In 2000, 769 people were detained, in 2001 – 1309 people, in 2002 – 5069 people. The presence in the country of such a large number of foreigners with an uncertain status exerts an additional burden on the socio-economic sphere, contributes to the aggravation of the criminal situation, and causes real damage to the security of the state.

Thus, the illegality of labor migration has become a global problem. This is a response of working people to the legislative acts of many states, with the help of which the influx of foreign labor is regulated. Another reason that feeds this problem is that workers who entered illegally (or remained in the country illegally after the expiration of the official period) represent the cheapest and most disenfranchised labor force for entrepreneurs.

A distinctive feature of modern labor migration is its increasing seasonality. This is due to the widespread use of imported labor in forestry and agriculture, harvesting, harvesting fodder for livestock, etc. Millions of Mexicans, for example, annually work in the United States on harvesting. The seasonality of migration processes has already affected Belarusians who work in the fields of Poland.

Countries that had the status of a metropolis in the past are guided by the import of labor from their former colonies and dependent countries. This is clearly seen in the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom. In the UK, the number of immigrants is approaching 2.5 million, making up about 4.5% of the population. The largest groups among them are Indians (760 thousand people), Pakistanis, Bengalis (505 thousand people), as well as immigrants from the West Indies (534 thousand people).

Modern processes of labor migration are distinguished by the following features:

the international labour market encompasses multidirectional flows of labour across national borders, gradually involving more continents; in the processes of labor migration, qualitative changes are taking place due to the scientific and technological revolution, the essence of which is a significant increase in the proportion of qualified specialists among the migrating; a feature of modern labor migration is its increasing seasonality; countries that had former metropolitan status focused on the import of labour from their former colonies and dependent countries; State intervention in the relationship between capital and labour, in particular foreign labour, has become more active; intra-country labour migration has increased; for developing countries, labour exports have become a tool for participation in international economic relations. At the same time, the labor force of donor countries is mastering it, the illegality of labor migration has become a global problem.

The use of foreign labor brings the following benefits to countries of immigration:

employment of vacancies related to non-prestigious or hard work, which are not applied for by citizens of the host country. For example, in the 90s, immigrant workers accounted for 19.4% of the total labor force in Switzerland, 10.2% in Austria, 7.4% in Germany, 6.2% in France; expansion of the country’s domestic market due to the demand for goods and services imposed by foreign workers. In addition, the money in their accounts is used in the economy; reduction of the tax burden on the state budget. Migrant workers not only do not require social benefits, but by paying taxes and other mandatory contributions, they reduce the relative tax burden on the indigenous population; when importing skilled labour, the host country saves on education and training costs. For example, the United States saved about $ 15 billion from 1965 to 1990 in the field of education and science alone. In addition, foreign workers are paid less. Accordingly, the company’s costs are reduced; immigrants rejuvenate the workforce structure of developed countries, which tend to age.

Along with the positive aspects of immigration, there are also negative ones – the level of social and national tension may grow in the country, crime increases, overpopulation is observed, and state spending may increase.

Donor countries also benefit from labour outflows:

unemployment is decreasing; the level of wages and welfare is growing, state spending on social support is decreasing; foreign exchange earnings are increasing due to transfers from abroad.

In some cases, foreign exchange earnings from the export of labor may exceed the proceeds from the export of goods (for example, in Pakistan – 5 times, in Yemen – 30 times). For the world’s major labour exporters, emigrant remittances are a very significant source of foreign exchange in the country and constitute a significant part of the country’s balance of payments, which has a special item entitled “Workers’ remittances from abroad”. Thus, currency remittances of emigrants are in Egypt, Pakistan, Portugal order
12-13% of GDP, and in Lebanon – 64% of GDP. In some cases, a country’s trade deficit is transformed into a balance of payments surplus by foreign exchange earnings from emigrants. In addition, returning to their homeland, emigrants, according to experts, bring with them savings for the same amount that they transferred to the country.

After returning to their homeland, emigrants often have a fairly high qualification and can be organizers of the labor process, transfer the professional skills acquired abroad to others. Returning to their homeland with certain savings, migrants form a middle class, the country receives a kind of “enriched” labor resources. It is only necessary to create favourable economic and social conditions for returnees to realize their potential.

In general, not only the state budget of the country, but also the entire economy receives benefits from the export of labor.

Negative consequences for the donor country:

loss of labor resources at the most working age, as a result of aging of labor resources; the costs of education and training are lost; there is a brain drain.

“Brain drain” is a characteristic feature of modern labor migration processes. The flow of such migrants is directed mainly to industrialized countries, which receive a significant economic effect due to the arrival of such workers. The country, without spending money on the training of such a specialist, immediately receives a return on his highly effective work. According to available estimates, the profit received as a result of the exploitation of “other people’s minds” exceeds the amount of assistance provided to developing countries, in Canada – 7 times, and in the UK – 3 times.

The balance of the ratio of gains and losses in practice is most often formed in favor of the host country, and public opinion about the unprofitability of accepting immigrants is incorrect. However, labour migration often produces negative externalities that take the form of costs that cannot be estimated in money. For example, uneven immigration can create excessive population density in certain regions, which causes social tension in society, interethnic hostility. “Brain drain” leads to undesirable structural shifts in the economy, a drop in the prestige of domestic science, and the aging of scientific personnel.

The negative consequences of international labour migration, as a rule, include the following:

the increase in illegal migration, especially at the expense of workers whose employment contracts have expired, but they do not want to return to their homeland, hoping to find work again in the host country; increased social tensions due to the growth of illegal immigration.

If we talk about labor immigration in our republic, it also has a tendency to grow, mainly due to builders involved in the construction of markets, residential buildings and repair of industrial buildings. Normative and legal documents of the Republic of Belarus enshrine the principle of priority of the right of Belarusian citizens to occupy vacant places and limit the inflow of foreign labor. Enterprises, organizations and institutions must convincingly argue the advisability of attracting foreign labor and acquire a special permit for this purpose. Thus, in 2000-2003, 832 migrant workers came to work in the Republic of Belarus and 5738 citizens of the Republic of Belarus went to work abroad. During the same period, 302 permits (licenses) were issued to attract labor to the Republic of Belarus and 73 to employ citizens of the Republic of Belarus abroad.

In 2000-2002, 234965 people left the territory of the Republic of Belarus, including to the CIS and Baltic countries – 194113 people and 40,852 people outside the former USSR.

In 2000-2002, 345197 people arrived in the Republic of Belarus, including 318869 people from the republics of the former Soviet Union, and 26328 people from other states.

During this period, the largest influx of immigrants is observed from the Russian Federation (171061 people), Ukraine (46426 people), Latvia (20283 people), Kazakhstan (19991 people). Among the arrivals, the Russian-speaking population (Belarusians, Russians, Ukrainians) predominates.

Between 2000 and 2003, more than 32,000 forced immigrants applying for refugee status applied to the migration service. The largest number of them came from Latvia (7.0 thousand people), Russia (4.9 thousand people), Kazakhstan
(2.7 thousand people), Lithuania (2.6 thousand people), Georgia (2.5 thousand people), Tajikistan (2.5 thousand people).

In addition, there are currently more than 2,000 persons in Belarus who arrived from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Bolivia, Somalia and a number of other states and seek asylum in the Republic of Belarus.