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May 14, 2022
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From migrant workers to deputies: Dzhamshut – power, Russian Van – unemployment benefits

From migrant workers to deputies: Dzhamshut - power, Russian Van - unemployment benefits

Photo: Sergey Fadeichev / TASS

With financial bonuses, tax breaks and the opportunity to participate in local self-government, it is proposed to lure to Russia … No, not talented programmers, the shortage of which has only been growing in recent months. Not scientists and qualified specialists of rare professions. And labor migrants from the countries of Central Asia. First of all, they need to create comfortable conditions for work and life with us.

This is stated in the report of the VEB Institute. The Russian Federation is a state corporation that finances economic development projects. Its experts reportedly carried out a large-scale study of labor migration from countries traditional for our state – labor donors. This refers to Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan. And we came to the conclusion that the benefits from the flow of labor resources to us from these countries are greater than the negative consequences. Moreover, for all parties involved.

Among the main advantages for Russia is the coverage of the shortage of cheap labor by migrants. With which it is difficult to disagree. Our employers often pay the minimum wage to visiting hard workers, because most of them have neither proper education nor professions. A plus for the migrants themselves, and at the same time for their states, is the regular transfer of earnings to their relatives in their homeland. And, in fact, everything. Among the minuses and risks: problems with assimilation, xenophobia, domestic disorder, settling in informal employment, radicalization and participation in criminal activities.

And crime, despite the outflow of migrants with the start of a special military operation in Ukraine, increased by 8% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, according to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Moreover, more than 80% of violations are committed by citizens of the CIS countries.

It would seem, what is the trick then, since the negative from attracting Asian labor resources to us is an order of magnitude greater than the positive? Moreover, the negative is really dangerous: radicals, as a rule, fanatics, are practically not amenable to re-education … And that, VEB researchers assure. RF, that the minuses can easily be turned into pluses. In particular, by creating comfortable conditions for visitors to work and live.

Another suggestion by experts is to provide economic incentives to those who travel to underdeveloped Russian regions. By accruing bonuses to their salaries, introducing tax benefits. And encouraging their families to move to us (apparently, with permanent registration?), Involving them in social activities at the local and municipal levels. In other words, you came with all your, sorry, camp (in a traditional Asian family, as a rule, there are many children), settled in a house or apartment provided by a village, town, city, got a job and you are already our, Russian person? With all the ensuing benefits.

As for Asian citizens who prefer to work abroad, everything is clear. In their countries, there is a protracted labor crisis that has been going on for the third decade. Jobs are scarce and wages are low. They live on seasonal, and some already permanent labor migration. Basically, to Russia, where about 70-90% of the “working hands” of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan go. The latter, thanks to a good knowledge of the Russian language, are traditionally employed in the service sector (mainly office cleaning) – about 60%. Uzbeks work at construction sites, housing and communal services, wholesale trade, and transport. Tajiks, according to various sources, work on construction sites and (17%) in trade and public catering. The conditions proposed by him – so far in the expert report – will be considered, it is possible, for heavenly. And they will, of course, be right.

But what will we ourselves, the Russians, gain? Or is there no problem of employment for us? All are attached, consistently receive worthy salaries? But here are the data from Rosstat at the beginning of this year: the number of working young Russians, the most productive age of 20-29 years, has decreased by 460 thousand. Reasons? Equally unemployment and demographics. The pandemic has made its sad contribution by depriving the country of older workers (60+). Although compared to the young, they left many times less – 24 thousand people. Who did not survive the covid, who was tired, and someone was “left”, having reduced. At the same time, the number of workers in the youngest age category, the generation of the 2000s, has increased. – plus 26.8 thousand people. Grow up – grew up, but not always finds a job.

– In March, several students came to the construction site, about ten people, they wanted to earn extra money by the summer, – said “SP” Mikhail Zarubaev, CEO of one of the St. Petersburg construction trusts.

– I took three.

“SP”: – Why not all – there were no vacancies?

– There are enough vacancies. Welders, locksmiths, plasterers, laborers are needed. Not in this case. I offered them, so to speak, for acquaintance, 20 thousand per month. Offended. They began to dictate their terms. On that they parted.

“SP”: – But the amount you proposed is indeed modest in modern times and given the specifics of work at a construction site!

– And migrants agree to it. Also thanks!

“SP”: – Those three that remained, continue to work?

– Yes. They try. The foreman praises them.

“SP”: – Do you have a lot of labor migrants?

None of the experts. And at the “dirty” work, a dozen or three people. There was a moment when they began to leave. But now, after two years of a pandemic, those who want to go to any site are in line!

Approximately the same situation in the St. Petersburg wholesale market, in urban trade, in transport. There are, however, exceptions. The management of a large sports complex, where I train, decided in June to refuse the services of an outsourcing company, fortunately, the term of the contract with it is expiring, and they are recruiting citizens as cloakroom attendants and cleaners. Competition – three people per place. The age of the contestants is from 40 years. The same trend is in some business centers and even hypermarkets.

However, with the priority employment of Russians, everything is still rather unsteady, given the geopolitical situation. As recently as two weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Tatyana Golikova She stated that although the number of unemployed in the country does not yet exceed the indicators of the beginning of March (678.2 thousand in April against 682.8 thousand a month earlier), there are “negative trends” in the labor market. Namely, a 2.5-fold increase in the number of citizens who are idle or underemployed. And experts from large banks and research organizations participating in regular macroeconomic surveys of the Bank of Russia expect unemployment to rise from the current 4.3% to 6.8% by the end of the year.

So where are the migrants? To answer this and some other questions, “SP” asked our permanent expert Dmitry Solonnikov, director of the Institute of Contemporary State Development.

“Russia cannot do without labor migrants, given the deep demographic hole our country is in now. And five years, no less, will still be. Visitors cannot be replaced by their own population.

Yes, unemployment is not crazy now, as it was in the 1990s. But there are quite a few industries where you can’t drag our Russian man, as they say, with any ruble. This is primarily construction and agriculture. I will not name the region where my colleagues and I conducted the research, I will only note that this is not the far north of the country. Local residents there live exclusively in their own garden. The offer to work on a rotational basis in the city where there is a plant is categorically refused. Let, they say, the plant itself come to us, but we do not want to leave our home. Such is the psychology.

“SP”: – The sad legacy of the perestroika years?

– Most probably. The problem is that it’s not just the north. For example, in the Leningrad region there is an opportunity to get a job and earn good money. In Ust-Luga, for example, where a large-scale construction of a gas complex is currently underway. in some other cities. But the same song, unfortunately – they don’t want to leave home. At the same time, they are going to overpopulated St. Petersburg!

“SP”: – Some of our Duma members, in particular, Andrey Alekhin, a deputy from Omsk, proposes to limit the influx of migrants into the country by tightening migration policy in order to minimize problems with unemployment on the ground. Otherwise, our people, he says, will generally forget how to work. And Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin proposes to attract pensioners to the construction industry, where there is an acute shortage of labor, including foreign ones. It is enough for this to return the annual indexation to working elderly Russians. What is not a solution to the problem?

– Almost everything that the deputies say and propose, like the majority of media citizens, is either populism or a purely emotional “ejection”. The problem is too complex and, importantly, old. It cannot be solved in a short time. And is it necessary? Most developed countries have long and not unsuccessfully used the labor of foreigners. We are not leaders here. We are noticeably inferior, for example, to the United States. Another thing is that at some point in our country they stopped educating their own cadres of the same handymen. Their shortage, which coincided with the demographic crisis, has led to a situation where the economy can no longer be replaced by migrants. But first of all, we need to change the system. Rebuild the entire state apparatus on a modern footing. And as soon as possible. We are clearly not in a hurry with this. I’m not sure they’re going to do anything drastic at all. The Russian bureaucracy really doesn’t like reorganizations.

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