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The Effect of COVID-19 on Labour Migrants and Migration Policy in the CIS - MiRG

A picture of tents and people in the camp. Photo credit by Fedor Slyusarev rfe/rl
Wednesday, March 24, 2021, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The presentation gives overview of situation with labour migration and state responds to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the CIS countries. Most governments acted promptly and decisively in countering the pandemic. The comprehensive measures have had a serious impact on citizens’ and migrants’ mobility and employment situation. Among the affected are millions of working migrants in CIS countries, especially in Russian Federation and Kazakhstan (the main magnets for the labour force from CIS). The presentation discusses the problems migrant workers are facing by in the current crisis, evaluates the effectiveness of administrative measures and policies of different states of the Commonwealth. Special focus of the presentation is the survey among migrants, the strategies and solidarity mechanisms they work out to reach their goals (to find new jobs, to return home or vice versa - to return to the receiving countries like Russia, Kazakhstan or the EU). A range of qualitative and quantitative data was collated on the situation of migrant workers during COVID-19 restriction in Russia and across the CIS. The changes in border regime create new opportunities for corruption, smuggling and increase of burdens for the labour migrants, in spite of liberalization in migration policy that many CIS countries have undertaken.

Dr. Molodikova Irina – Leader of the project on Migration and Security in the Post-Soviet Space (CEU), member of the Scientific Council of the Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences "Socio-political problems of the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union”, graduated Moscow State University (Social Geography) in Russia, leader of numerous international projects and author and editor of more than 40 books, articles and reports, such as “Сombating irregular migration and human trafficking in the CIS countries. Analytical report (2020) Prague process”, (ICMPD), Vienna; Russian Federation. Global review of migrant smuggling data and research: Volume II, IOM/UN “Transit Migration in Europe” (Eds with F. Düvell and M. Collyer), AUP, 2014. Eurasian Migration towards Russia: Regional Dynamics in the era of Globalisation (2018), A. Triandafyllidou (ed), Handbook on Migration and Globalisation, Edward Elgar.

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