Centers for International Labour Migration

Practice shows that the directions of international migration flows are not permanent. In the first third of the twentieth century, more than half of all emigrants flocked to the United States. The remaining part of the migrants was divided approximately equally between the British dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) and the countries of Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, etc.). Since the Second World War, the increase in migration has been accompanied by a significant change in its priority areas. Along with the United States and Canada, migration flows began to flow to Western Europe, especially the countries of the EEC. By the 90s, there were several centers that most attracted migrants. One of them is the United States.

The United States is a country of classical immigration, which laid the foundation for the modern ethnic and national structure of this country. It was immigrants who traditionally made the greatest contribution to the economic and social development of the state, based on their ideas, the political structure of American society was formed. Immigrants formed a significant part of the natural population growth of the United States during, in fact, the XIX-XX centuries. Currently, about 7% of the US population are born abroad. The uneven distribution of immigrants across the country – in seven states 75% of the total number of immigrants (in the first places – California, New York, Texas, Florida), which is mainly due to two factors: the ability to find a job and a place where friends or family members have already settled (these are the main factors in the formation of the first links of the migration chain). Currently, the United States is dominated by immigrants from Mexico, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, China. Russia ranks second among the CIS countries after Ukraine (19.7 thousand and 21.1 thousand, respectively), while 68% of all immigrants arrive in the United States under “refugee programs” (40% from Ukraine, 88% from Uzbekistan, 77% from Moldova, 15% from Russia, 6.6% from Belarus). The United States in every possible way contributes to the influx of a large number of scientists and engineers from Europe, East and South Asia. They willingly accept large businessmen from Cuba and Latin America. In just four years (1966-1969), 43,000 engineers and scientists officially immigrated to the United States. Overall, in the U.S. labor market in the 1980s, 40 percent of Ph.D. in engineering and computer sciences and 25 percent of college tech professors were immigrants. In the mid-1990s, more than 11 million immigrants lived in the United States. Thus, the United States, which was most adapted to absorb additional labor, transformed labor migration into a “brain drain”, which led to the high contribution made by immigrant specialists to the development of American science, medicine and art.

Western Europe is traditionally a region in which migration processes are quite active. The countries receiving the bulk of immigrants are Germany, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands. Currently, there are about 20 million legal migrants and their families in Europe, including 13 million in the European Union. Inter-State movements involve mainly young people, usually people under 25 years of age. Studies show that the proportion of young people in the foreign labor force in different periods of time reached more than 40% in France and the Netherlands, in Belgium about half of the total number of foreign workers.

Germany is the most attractive for the labor force from Eastern Europe, as it has a relatively favorable economic situation, relatively liberal immigration legislation, as well as well-established mechanisms for attracting foreigners to the domestic labor market that have developed in recent decades. Currently, about 5 million foreigners live in Germany, which is about 7% of the country’s population.

In France, there are more than 4 million immigrants, i.e. about 7% of the country’s population. Most of them (39%) are from Southern Europe, 10% from Western Europe, 27% from North Africa, 12% from “black” Africa. Immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe and the CIS make up only 7%. Legislative acts quite strictly regulate the stay of immigrants in France. However, up to 10 thousand people a year are still hired at the request of firms, organizations, enterprises, as well as municipalities. Underground immigrants make up the lion’s share of the workforce of the “shadow” economy, whose annual turnover in France is estimated at about 250 billion francs per year, which is comparable to the turnover of such an industry as agriculture.

In Western Europe, until recently, foreign workers were used in those areas where the share of manual labor is large (construction, service sector), and in those industries where work is too dangerous. The share of foreigners in these industries reached 70%. This proves that such enterprises are already “oriented” to the alien labor force. Recently, Western Europe has seen some shifts in the traditional structure of foreign employment. There was a significant decrease in the employment of foreigners in the steel industry, metalworking, and the automotive industry. At the same time, the share of foreign workers has increased in the service sector. Over the past 10 years, the number of immigrants working in trade has increased by 50%, and those engaged in manufacturing services by 70%. German giants IBM Deutschland, Digital Eguipment and  Simens-Nixdorf  since the early 90s have been increasingly attracting highly qualified computer technology specialists from Russia, Eastern Europe, and India. Thus, they acquire a highly qualified labor force and save labor costs.

In the 70s of the twentieth century, a labor market was formed in the region of the oil-producing countries of the Middle East. In the 90s, there were more than 4.5 million migrant workers here (while the number of local workers was 2 million people). The share of foreign labor in the total labor force is very significant. In the United Arab Emirates, it is about 97%, in Qatar – 95.6%, in Kuwait – 86.5%, in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – 40%. The main exporters of labor to this region are Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. The bulk of the workforce comes from India and Pakistan, with which the people of the Arabian Gulf coast have traditionally maintained close relations. About 79% of the UAE’s workforce, which is now estimated at about 800,000, are immigrants from the two countries. Indigenous people account for only 10%. About 300,000 Indians live in the country. They are engaged in trade, finance and services, printing, transport and construction sites. Pakistanis (about 300 thousand people) work mainly on construction sites and transport. They make up the majority among taxi drivers, along with Afghans, Indians and representatives of such Arab countries as Syria, Egypt, Jordan. In the UAE, there are tens of thousands of Europeans engaged in private business, representing the interests of foreign firms and agencies employed in local companies. Recently, technical specialists from Russia, CIS countries, poland have appeared.

The countries of the Asia-Pacific region represent another centre for international migration. Here, the main importers of labor are Brunei, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan. These countries are characterized by various forms of labor migration. First, regulated labor migration is typical for Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong. Secondly, hidden or illegal migration is developed in East and West Malaysia, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Taiwan. Thirdly, the migration of highly skilled labor to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia.

In the Asia-Pacific region (APR), the classic country of immigration is Australia. Every year, 120-140 thousand immigrants arrive in Australia, most of them with the intention of getting a job. Over the past 40 years, more than 4.5 million immigrants have entered the country, mainly from England, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, and New Zealand. Recently, the flow of immigrants from Asia has increased, accounting for 1/3 of the total annual quota. The share of foreigners in the total labor force of Australia is 24%. This is higher than the indicator characterizing the presence of immigrants in the total population (22.3%)

Special mention should be made of Japan, which was the center of emigration a century ago. Emigrants from Japan’s poor rural areas flocked to the labor-demanding Western Hemisphere. Since the 60s of the twentieth century, when the rapid growth of the economy began in Japan, the emigration of its citizens stopped. Moreover, flows of “nikkei” (emigrants) go in the opposite direction. Since the 90s, up to 400,000 foreign workers have come to Japan annually. About 1 million foreigners live in Japan, of whom 72 percent are Koreans, most of them descendants of workers forcibly brought to the Japanese archipelago after the capture of Korea in 1910. Most immigrants come illegally from the poorest countries in the region. These are the Philippines (37%), Bangladesh (20%), Pakistan (17%). Immigrants tend to be employed in the most non-prestigious jobs. Men in construction sites (42%) and small subcontractors (39%), and women in bars and private clubs (80%). In recent years, Japanese companies have been conducting an active campaign to recruit talented scientific youth and scientific personnel abroad, including in Russia, the CIS countries, Eastern and Central Europe. At the same time, not only and not so much the immigration of this contingent of labor resources to Japan is practiced, as the fulfillment of various tasks and the solution of scientific and technical problems in their homeland and in foreign branches of Japanese companies. This is economically justified, because Japanese highly skilled labor is one of the most expensive in the world.

Inter-country labour migration is also taking place in Latin America. Since the second half of the XIX century. the continent has become one of the world centers of attraction for immigrants, while mainly migration from Europe was encouraged. This trend continued until the 60s. XX century Only in 1946-1960. in Latin America moved 2 million Europeans. Since the 60s. intercontinental migration is increasingly beginning to be replaced by intracontinental. The population migrates mainly to the Amazon basin. This applies to countries located in the Andes: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia. Intracontinental labour migration in Latin America has become persistent. This is due to the scarcity of land for most peasants and their underemployment, as well as the high rate of population growth, which is four times higher than in industrialized countries. Certain flows are directed to Chile and Argentina, which receive certain contingents of labor immigrants. These are primarily highly qualified people or narrow specialists (for example, seafarers).

In Africa, approximately 2 million people are involved in inland migration. Mostly richer countries accept unskilled workers from neighboring countries. The richest country on the African continent is South Africa. The first immigrants to this country came from Europe at the beginning of the XIX century.

The collapse of the USSR significantly increased the mobility of the population of the former Soviet republics, which led to an increase in the number of international labor migrants. The peak of emigration occurred in 1991, when 760 thousand people left Russia, Ukraine – 80.8 thousand, Kazakhstan – 78.3 thousand, Uzbekistan – 26.6 thousand, Belarus – 25.4 thousand. In the future, the emigration flow stabilized, although it remained quite high. Over the following years, an average of about 80,000 people left Russia annually, 50,000 from Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and 10,000 people from Belarus. As for the Republic of Belarus, for example, in 1997 the number of immigrants was 31.3 thousand people, emigrants 17 thousand, the balance of migration was positive. 67% of Belarusian emigrants went to Israel, 36% to the USA, 4.6% to Germany, the rest to Australia, Poland and Canada. The problem for the Belarusian state was the emigration of scientists. Thus, in 1996-1999, 278 researchers and teachers became emigrants. In addition, the number of illegal migrants entering Belarus is increasing. The bulk of illegal immigrants are immigrants from Africa and Asia and enter our territory through the “transparent” border with the Russian Federation. The number of illegal migrants in the Republic of Belarus is approximately 100-150 thousand people. People come to Belarus mainly from Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, China and India. In addition to illegal migrants, there are many former students in Belarus who, according to contracts concluded by the USSR, graduated from universities and do not have the money to return to their homeland. According to the Migration Department under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Belarus, within six years, from 1992 to 1997, the Belarusian state authorities registered (without consideration) about 35 thousand applications from foreigners for granting them refugee status. By mid-1998, 57 people had received this status, including one of them a residence permit. By international standards, that’s quite a lot. For example, the Government of Sweden approves no more than 10 such applications per year. The total number of people wishing to obtain refugee status in the Republic of Belarus may reach several tens of thousands in the coming years, which may create a number of serious problems, the main of which is the provision of work and housing for these people.

So, the migration processes of recent years are characterized not only by an increase in scale, but also by the formation of new phenomena that did not exist in the recent past. The latter, in particular, is manifested in the fact that an increasing number of countries are involved in the process of simultaneous emigration and immigration of the population. A new phenomenon in international labour migration is large movements of labour within developing countries, unrelenting pressure from unskilled labour seeking employment in developed countries in North America and Western Europe. In parallel with this process, however, there has been an increase in the movement of labour among developing countries.