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Ukrainian Emigration to the EU: Labour Market Perspective


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Title: Ukrainian Emigration to the EU: Labour Market Perspective

Ukrainian Emigration to the EU Labour Market
  • Oleksandra Betliy
  • Warsaw, June 11, 2013

  • Ukraine some facts
  • Migration profile of Ukraine
  • Visa policy
  • Ukraine and the EU
  • Migration policy
  • Experts about future migration of Ukrainians to
    the EU

Ukraine some facts
Population 45.6 millions as January 1, 2012
51.9 millions as January 1, 1991 Urban
population 69 of total Share of children (0-14
years) 14 of total in 2012 21 of total
in 1991 Share of people older than 65 15 of
total in 2012 12 of total in 1991 Life
expectancy at birth 71.0 years including
females 75.9 years males 66.0 years
Economic situation
Major shock transformation from centrally
planned to market economy after the collapse of
the USSR
Source Ukrstat
Unemployment patterns
Source Ukrstat
Coping mechanisms for households
  • Engagement of informal activities
  • Migration
  • Risk aversion, including work after retirement,
    low job mobility, readiness to work despite wage
    arrears and forced part-time job, and high
    employment in public sectors
  • Downturn in consumption
  • Family support and social safety nets
  • Delayed payments for housing and utility services
  • Households savings
  • Development of small business
  • Crime

Migration profile of Ukraine
Migration profile of Ukraine
  • 1.2 m individuals (3.4 of population in age
    between 15-70 years old) either worked or looked
    for a job abroad in the period of January 2010 -
    June 2012 (results of recent Ukrstats survey)
  • 98.2 of these individuals worked abroad, while
    the rest looked for a job
  • 4.8 and 2.2 of economically active men and
    women, respectively, were labour migrants
  • 2.2 and 6.3 of economically active individuals
    in urban and rural areas, respectively, were
    labour migrants
  • 64.9 of labour migrants had complete secondary
    education. while 15.4 had tertiary education.
  • Number of labour migrants reduced
  • Share of labour migrants in working labour force
    reduced from 5.1 in 2005-2008 to 4.1 in

Migration profile of Ukraine Origin of labour
Source Ukrstat survey
Migration profile of Ukraine
Source Ukrstat survey
Migration profile of Ukraine status of migrants
  • Many migrants work on seasonal works circular
  • Between 2010-2012 one labour migrant made on
    average 3 trips
  • Average length of work 5 months
  • Frequency of home visits depends on the
    destination country (due to visa regimes)
  • High share of illegal migrants

Source Ukrstat survey
Migration profile of Ukraine destination
Source Ukrstat survey
Migration profile of Ukraine sector of work
Source Ukrstat survey
Migration profile of Ukraine
Source Ukrstat survey
Migration profile of Ukraine skills mismatch
  • Ukrainian labour market is characterized by high
    skills mismatch. More than 50 of employed are
    formally overqualified for their jobs
  • On domestic market there is a oversupply of
    white-collar workers, and a deficit of
    blue-collar skilled employees
  • There is an evidence of occupational downshifting
    (brain waste) among Ukrainian migrants
  • As a result, depleted human capital and lower
    productivity (if these migrants return to
    Ukrainian labour market)

Migration profile of Ukraine
Total Women Women Men Urban Rural
Number of labour migrants, thous. persons 1161 403.2 403.2 757.7 529.0 631.9
Including, Including, Including, Including, Including, Including, Including,
Equivalent occupation 28.7 10.9 38.1 38.1 32.8 25.2
Different from qualification 23.7 28.0 21.4 21.4 29.0 19.2
With lower qualification 5.2 5.3 5.1 5.1 8.3 2.5
With higher qualification 2.6 2.8 2.4 2.4 2.9 2.3
At work, which does not require qualification 39.5 53.0 32.3 32.3 26.6 50.2
Not defined 0.3 - 0.7 0.7 0.4 0.6
Source Ukrstat survey
Migration profile of Ukraine push factors
  • In the beginning of 90s personal (including
    ethnic) motives for migration dominated, while
    later migration became labour-driven
  • Major reasons for labour migration
  • Low employment opportunities
  • Low earnings
  • Unstable earnings (wage arrears, administrative
    leaves, etc.)
  • (At a lower degree) lack of protection of human

Migration profile of Ukraine
Average wage in Ukraine in 2010-2012 USD 329  Total, thous. pers. Distribution of earning in USD, Distribution of earning in USD, Distribution of earning in USD, Distribution of earning in USD, Distribution of earning in USD, Average monthly earnings, USD,2010-12
Average wage in Ukraine in 2010-2012 USD 329  Total, thous. pers. lt 250 251? 500 501? 1000 1001-2000 gt2000 Average monthly earnings, USD,2010-12
Number of labour migrants that reported earnings 1002 4.4 21.8 43.1 24.8 5.9 930
Russia 407.7 2.6 24.8 46.2 23.0 3.4 874
Poland 151.4 14.9 40.4 38.4 5.4 0.9 560
Italy 146.6 4.4 11.5 47.1 27.4 9.8 1056
Czech Republic 131.6 2.7 6.0 41.5 44.3 5.4 1137
Spain 43.5 - 19.8 49.4 26.7 3.9 943
Germany 27.8 - - 25.5 25.5 48.9 1798
Hungary 19.6 - - 70.9 29.1 - 969
Portugal 18.6 - 10.8 53.8 31.2 4.3 1019
Belarus 17.9 8.4 70.9 20.7 - - 432
Other 37.7 - 20.2 16.7 46.7 16.2 1306
Migration profile of Ukraine
  • Impact of migration
  • Worsened demographic situation near 1.1 m
    persons emigrated reduction of working-age
    population. Besides, migration often means delay
    in childbirth
  • Labour market impact
  • Brain drain and brain waste
  • Likely reduces labour market pressure
  • Often improves welfare of households through
  • Remittances are mostly spent on everyday
    consumption, purchase of durables
  • 12 of migrant households spend remittances on
  • Increase pressure to social security and health
    care systems as temporary migrants dont
    contribute to the system, but demand services
    after return

Visa policy
Visa policy
  • Ukraine is encircled with substantial and
    non-symmetrical visa barriers
  • Visa barriers restrict migration flows (however,
    likely only to a limited extent)
  • Citizens of Ukraine can travel visa-free to 43
    countries of the world , mostly to CIS countries
    and the countries that intend to attract tourists
  • Visa policy of foreign countries towards citizens
    of Ukraine is not always open and transparent
  • According to a research by Ukrainian think-tanks,
    visa practices of the consulates of the EU member
    states may be divided into four groups
    friendly, neutral, contrasting and

Visa policy
Source Europe without barriers, Independent
Monitoring Findings 2012
Ukraine and the EU
Ukraine and the EU
  • In November 2010 Ukraine received the Action Plan
    on Visa Liberalization from the EU. The second
    block of elements of the Action plan is Illegal
    Migration, Including Readmission, which among
    others envisages following measures
  • Adoption of a National Migration Management
    Strategy for effective implementation of the
    legal framework for migration policy and an
    Action Plan
  • Establishment of a mechanism for the monitoring
    of migration flows, defining a regularly updated
    migration profile for Ukraine.
  • Future visa liberalisation will make it easier
    for Ukrainians to travel to the EU countries and
    is expected to benefit Ukrainians
  • In 2011 the National Action Plan on Visa
    Liberalization was approved
  • The EU has high concerns to visa liberalization
    due to migration threats and large financial
    revenues from Consular fees

Ukraine and the EU
  • Facilitation of movement of persons is also a
    separate article in the Association Agreement
  • In March 2012 Ukraine and the EU initialed the
    Association Agreement, which envisages DCFTA. It
    might be signed in November 2013 if Ukraine
    fulfills requirements
  • The AA envisages somewhat higher labour mobility
  • The Parties shall take gradual steps towards a
    visa-free regime in due course provided that the
    conditions for well-managed and secure mobility,
    set out in the two-phase Action Plan on Visa
    Liberalization presented at the EU-Ukraine Summit
    of 22 November 2010, are in place.
  • Ukraine is likely to benefit from the AA in terms
    of higher welfare

Migration policy
Migration policy
  • Ukraines migration regulatory framework improved
  • The Concept of Migration Policy of Ukraine was
    endorsed by the Presidential Decree
  • The Government approved Resolution On Creation
    of a Single National Database of Migration Flows
  • The State Migration Service was created in 2011
    (however, it still criticized for low
    institutional capacities)
  • Without wide vision and deep understanding of the
    migration situation in the country, migration
    legislation will not be effective
  • Protection of rights of Ukrainian migrants
    remains inadequate
  • Effective system for collecting, processing and
    analyzing the statistic and institutional data on
    migration of Ukrainians abroad is absent
  • As labour migration is high, Ukrainian migration
    policy should make it legitimate and ensure
    protection (social and of human rights) of labour
    migrants as well as envisage policies for
    reintegration of returnees into society

Migration policy
  • Two government bodies are responsible for
    development and implementation of migration
    policy in Ukraine
  • The State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU),
    which is subordinated to the Ministry of Internal
  • responsible for registration of residents and
    non-residents (including refugees), citizenship
    issues handling, combating illegal migration and
    elaboration of migration policy
  • The Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.
  • responsible for labour migration regulation
  • Ukraine is a party to 13 bilateral agreements on
    employment and social protection of migrant
    workers (with Baltic States, Bulgaria, Spain,
    Libya, the Czech Republic, Mongolia, Portugal,
    Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech
  • The implementation of existing agreements on
    social protection is difficult due to lack of
    implementation mechanisms, financial resources
    and qualified personnel ? the level of social
    protection of Ukraines labour migrants is very

Experts about future migration of Ukrainians to
the EU
Future migration of Ukrainians to the EU
  • The emigration flows might increase if economic
    and political uncertainty in Ukraine surges
  • Recently, the emigration mood of Ukrainians has
  • More young people consider opportunities to
    receive education abroad. As degrees received
    abroad are not directly transferable (the
    nostrifikation is required), this creates
    additional pressure for such individuals to look
    for a job abroad
  • Visa regime with the EU is perceived to be a
    barrier for tourism rather than for work abroad

Future migration of Ukrainians to the EU visa
liberalisation impact
  • Experts (as revealed by several studies and
    interviews) predominantly do not expect
    significant increase in migration of Ukrainians
    to the EU after visa liberalization
  • In particular, migration potential is limited
    near 6 of Ukrainians intended to leave the
    country for more than half a year (3.7 defined
    the Schengen Area as their desired destination).
    Only 1.5 planned labour migration or permanent
  • Number of legal migrants might increase due to
    legalisation of currently illegal migrants
  • We can expect an jump in migration due to family
    reunion of formerly illegal migrants
  • However, further research is needed to reveal
    more thoroughly the impact of visa liberalisation
    on migration flows from Ukraine

Literature (selected)
  • Coupe Tom. Vakhitova Hanna. Costs and Benefits of
    Labour Mobility between the EU and the Eastern
    Partnership Partner Countries. Country report
    Ukraine, ENPI, February 15, 2013
  • Documents Security and Migration Policy
    Assessments and Recommendations of the
    International Working Groups for Ukraine, Policy
    Paper, Europe Without Barriers, 2011
  • Implementation of Action Plan on Visa
    Liberalisation a Case of Ukraine, Independent
    Monitoring Findings, Policy Paper, Europe Without
    Barriers, 2012
  • Kipen V., Avksentyeva M., Migration Potential of
    Ukraine in the Context of Visa Regime with the EU
  • Petrova Iryna. Social Impacts of Eurointegration
    of Ukraine Labour Market. October 2012 (in
  • Poznyak Oleksiy. Social Impacts of
    Eurointegration of Ukraine Migration. October
    2012 (in Ukrainian)
  • The EU Visa Policy in Ukraine Independent
    Monitoring Findings 2012, Monitoring paper,
    Europe Without Barriers, 2012
  • Ukraine Extended Migration Profile, EC, 2011
  • Ukrstat presentations on the results of Migration
    survey - 2012, May 2013

Oleksandra Betliy Institute
for Economic Research and Policy
Consulting Reytarska str. 8/5-?. Kyiv
01034 Ukraine tel. (38-044) 278-6360.
278-6342 Fax (38-044) 278-6336 ins