Dace Akule - Labour migration to Latvia: Policy and reality


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25 April 2013
Constitutional Hall, Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, Gedimino av. 53, Vilnius

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Dace Akule - Labour migration to Latvia: Policy and reality

  1. 1. 5Labour migration to Latvia:Policy and realityDace Akule, policy researcher,Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS
  2. 2. Latvia’s population0%20%40%60%80%100%2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011Foreigners, %Non-citizens, %Citizens, %Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  3. 3. Migration balance-60000-40000-20000020000400006000080000199119921993199419951996199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011ImmigrationEmigrationMigration ballanceSource: Central Bureau of Statistics
  4. 4. Immigration stockSource: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs23527245162546626976294873082033055343543624942054443284739166766886754774298003965612815147151378513557159571871605000100001500020000250003000035000400004500050000200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013Permanent Residence PermitsTemporary Residence Permits
  5. 5. 1821184626312437221221541896206123962928483146092388249548246171010002000300040005000600070001997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011First-time issued temporary residencepermitsSource: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  6. 6. Number of issued permits by reason of entry9813048460342907283652933758690847234257485453453305001000150020002500300035002007 2008 2009 2010FamilyreunificationEmploymentStudiesOtherSource: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  7. 7. Origin of immigrants in 20122534605277197191102050010001500200025003000Russia Ukraine Belarus Kazakhstan Uzbekistan TurkeySource: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  8. 8. Stock of foreigners in 2013Russia 44586Lithuania 4031Ukraine 3735Belarus 2318Germany 1536Estonia 1025Bulgaria 698Sweden 564Poland 527United Kingdom 518United States of America 505Kazakhstan 466Uzbekistan 444Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  9. 9. Labour immigration• Employment becomes more popular reason for residence inLatvia: 40-45% of residents with temporary permits in 2008-2010.• If only 2000 foreigners acquired a work permit in 2005, thenumber exceeded 4000 in 2007.• Top countries: Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Top sectors:manufacturing, transport and logistics, trade and repair. Mostdramatic drop in demand for migrant workers was in constructionsector – 36% work permit in 2007, and only 3% in 2010.• Pull factors – labour or skills shortages in specific sectors (also dueto emigration), cultural and linguistic, geographic proximity. Moreimportant than comparatively low income levels (compared to EUaverage).
  10. 10. Labour immigration: sectors374 380163283331555631173471936044910541085628108129542696262582503234312684271220144 15114061320664111452341580200400600800100012001400160018002000ManufacturingindustryConstruc-tion serviceTransportation IT, science Trade Other2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011Source: Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs
  11. 11. Labour immigration2695 work permits issued in 2012.Top countries where labour migrants came from:• Belarus - 954 work permits• Russia - 620• Ukraine - 611• Turkmenistan - 111• India -71• Uzbekistan - 37• China - 32Top sectors: Transportation (approx. 1000 work permits),manufacturing, IT, food and catering.
  12. 12. Labour immigration• Access to labour market depends on purpose of immigration andtype or residence permit (e.g. free access to family reunificationmigrants who joined a citizen, non-citizen or permanent resident;restricted to labour immigrants), knowledge of Latvian language.• Third country nationals recruited by employers to work in Latviaare linked to the employer who invited them, with no option tofreely change employers or their employment position within thecompany (new work permit needed).• If migrant worker with a temporary residence permit becomeunemployed, his/ her residence permit is cancelled and the personsneeds to leave the country.• These persons are also not entitled to unemployment benefits andservices.
  13. 13. Labour immigration• Legislation stipulates that migrant workers must receive at leastthe average national gross monthly salary of the previous year – 481LVL (685 EUR) in 2012. Minimum wage in 2013 set at 200 LVL (285EUR). Plan to increase to 225 LVL (320 EUR) in 2014. Protection oflow-skilled local labour, but also leaving the low-skilled jobs to thelocals.• No formal work permit quotas, but the procedure and costsrelated to recruiting third country nationals were higher than inEstonia and Lithuania, and possessed a serious obstacle.• Changes in July 2008 – decreasing costs, establishing ‘one-stopagency’ for work permits. Employer had to pay a monthly fee of 35LVL (50 EUR) for recruiting a third country national. In 2008 thisbecame an annual fee, and in 2010 it was waived altogether.
  14. 14. Policy?In 2007 government attempted to adopt a migration policydocument, with 3 scenarios:• not changing the strict immigration policy, long and expensiveprocedure to recruit migrants,• decreasing state fees and easing the bureaucratic procedure forinviting migrant workers,• in addition to easier procedure and smaller fees, laying out criteriafor ‘emergency’ situations when quotas of specific professions couldbe filled on easier conditions. But migrants would be able to stay fora short term, no family reunification rights.The document was not adopted, but part of these proposals wereput in place in 2008 and 2010 via legislative changes (easierprocedures and decreased costs to recruit third country nationals).
  15. 15. Policy?• One of the reasons why the policy was not adopted – nationalisticparty among coalition parties.• The same situation in the present, when government’s action planincludes a goal of adopting a migration policy paper by July 2013.• The action plan says that the aim is to establish a balanced systemfor the entry of foreigners that is in line with Latvia’s interests andfacilitates economic growth.• Based on this paper, new immigration legislation should also beadopted by the end of 2013.
  16. 16. Policy?• Ministry of Economy has estimated that approximately 120thousand jobs would be created by 2030 as a result of economicgrowth. Additional 100 thousand jobs would become vacant due tothe elder generation leaving the labour market.• Who will fill these vacancies?• Working on the return of Latvians having emigrated. A plan tofacilitate return migration adopted in the government in January2013. But return migration mostly depends on the general socio-economic situation of Latvia.• Surveys show that 65% of emigrants don’t plan to return in thenear future (5 years).
  17. 17. What is your attitude towards the willingness of people fromother countries to come to work and live in Latvia?Source: DnB Nord Latvijas barometrs, survey conducted on February 2011, N= 1005 Latvia’s inhabitants, respondents could agree to multiple statements3832222222211711740 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40Migrants create problems by taking over jobs from the localsI dont think that migrants would be interested to live in Latvia - livein other countries would be more beneficial for themI think that every person has the right to go to live and work inanother country, including LatviaMigration was, is and will always be, it is an inevitable processMigrants create problems by increasing the burden on the socialbudgetI would personally not like it if people from difference races come tolive in LatviaMigrants endanger the existance of Latvian cultureOnly inhabitants of other EU countries should be allowed to live andwork in LatviaMigration would solve the problems that have been caused by thedecreasing number of inhabitants of Latvia like e.g. shortages of…Migration would bring benefits to Latvian culture and life byincreasing diversity e.g. cousine, fashion%
  18. 18. From which countries or groups of countries would itbe desirable to let in immigrants from? %Source: Market research centre SKDS. ‘Nacionālo ideju popularitāte sabiedrībā, Latvijas iedzīvotāju aptauja’ (Popularity of nationalistic ideasamong the population. A survey of Latvia’s inhabitants), July 2012, commissioned by the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists.0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50Difficult to say/ no answerImmigration should not be allowed under nocircumstancesOther countriesAfrican countriesIndiaChinaCountries of Middle EastOther countries of NISRussia, Belarus, UkraineEU countries
  19. 19. Attitudes towards migrants’ impact on social andeconomic processes47.721.133.465.628.940.749.354.90 20 40 60 80 100 120 140Migrants increase crime ratesMigrants bring beneftis to countrys economyMigrants make Latvia more open to new ideas and culturesMigrants take away jobs from people born in LatviaLatvians RussiansSource: NI: Dimensijas. Vēsturiskā atmiņa. LU SZF. Survey conducted in 2010, N= 1004 Latvia’s inhabitants, % of respondents according to ethnic origin(identification), “absolutely agree” and “rather agree” answers were summed up. Quoted in: Human Development report of Latvia 2010/2011
  20. 20. How large threats do the following aspects cause toLatvia?0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%Latvias inhabitants emigrateLatvia loses its economic independence since largeforeigncompanies take overandforce locals outofPeople fromothercountries come toLatvia tolookfora betterlifeTraditional moral standards change due tostandardsthat come fromothercountries andregionsThe arrival of different (untraditional toLatvia)religionThe arrival of differentcultures andtraditionsMixedmarriages betweenLatvias inhabitants andpeople of differentetchnicities andskincolorverylarge threatsmall threatnothreatatalldifficulttosay/noanswerSource: Market research centre SKDS. ‘Nacionālo ideju popularitāte sabiedrībā, Latvijas iedzīvotāju aptauja’ (Popularity of nationalistic ideasamong the population. A survey of Latvia’s inhabitants), July 2012, commissioned by the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists.
  21. 21. Conclusion• Question about people: who will live in Latvia? Whom do we wantto live in Latvia? How do we manage public services with limitedresources – weaker provision of services, higher taxes, or morepeople contributing their resources?• To enhance the return of Latvians, the society needs to realize andbe ready to increasing diversity of Latvia’s population, with spousesfrom other countries and more ‘mixed’ children living in Latvia.• Immigration is inevitable, a reality. Need to manage risks, mainlydue to lack of policies and negative public attitudes thanks to theSoviet migration experience, integration of Russian-speakingpopulation, especially as the majority of migrants come from Russia,Ukraine and Belarus able to survive without learning Latvianlanguage.