Migrants in Russia have declined

The Financial Times reports that for Russia, migrants are a source of cheap labor for jobs that locals refuse to take on. For the central Asian states, migrants’ remittances contribute a substantial chunk of their gross domestic product and their departure helps to reduce unemployment at home.

In 2020, 11 million foreign persons lived in Russia. Of them, 3.3 million were from Ukraine and 2.6 million from Kazakhstan. in 2014, the year of the first Ukrainian invasion, remittances were $35B. They are now about $22B. It’s almost as if we went to war with Mexico.

But by early April there were 5.5m foreigners in Russia — 42 per cent fewer than a year ago Construction and agriculture were particularly badly affected.

“We have had very few migrants remaining over the past year. And we badly, badly need these migrants to implement our ambitious plans,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last month.

Russia’s deputy prime minister Marat Khusnullin estimated the shortage of migrant workers in construction alone to be 1.5m to 2m people.

“Construction workers’ salaries were raised by 50 per cent due to labou shortages, and doubled in some places. But even while paying double it is extremely hard to find people,” he told local media. “We believe this is one of the key factors holding back construction development as a whole.”

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