Special features of the adaptation of migrant workers from Asian Countries in the Russian economy

This article analyzes the main official information sources on labor migration from China, Vietnam, and the DPRK: data from the border service of the RF Federal Security Service, the Federal State Statistics Service, the 2010 population census, the RF Federal Migration Service, and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. This analysis makes it possible to identify the special features of the adaptation of migrant workers from the Asian countries in the Russian economy. Labor migration to Russia from the Asian countries is represented by migrant workers from China, Vietnam, North Korea, Turkey, Thailand, and the Philippines. China, Vietnam, the DPRK, and Turkey are currently the main foreign countries sending migrant workers to Russia. China, Vietnam, and other Asian countries play a large part in the flows of student migrants to Russia. Given the wary attitude toward Chinese migrants and the high level of Sinophobia in the Russian regions, international labor migration from Vietnam can be considered the most realistic alternative to Chinese migration to Russia. Vietnam has significant demographic potential for becoming a regional leader in Southeast Asia with respect to labor migration to Russia in the mid-term. China is one of the largest exporters of labor resources to the Russian labor market (fifth place)-51,700 work permits (2015). Around 30,700 migrant workers from North Korea, 12,500 from Vietnam, 2,000 from the Philippines, and 1,400 from Thailand worked in the Russian market in 2015. Each group of Asian migrant workers occupies a specific niche in the Russian labor market: the Chinese are engaged in construction, commerce, and agriculture; the Vietnamese in agriculture, the textile industry, and the restaurant business; the Koreans in the lumber industry; the Thais in the massage sector; and the Filipinos in the household economy. Regional features of the distribution of migrant workers can be identified: Chinese workers are primarily found in Moscow and the Far East, Vietnamese are more dispersed and settle in Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Urals, and in regions of the South of Russia, Koreans are represented in the border areas of the Far East, while Thais and Filipinos are found in Central Russia, primarily in the large cities. There are also gender characteristics of labor migration- whereas men predominate among the citizens of China and North Korea, there is approximately equal distribution of men and women among the Vietnamese, while natives from Thailand and the Philippines are mainly women. The adaptation strategies of migrant workers in the Russian labor market also differ. Chinese migrants prefer to work for a long time in the Russian regions, often trying to obtain permanent residence or even Russian citizenship. Vietnamese migrant workers tend to work for three years in Russia and then return home. Citizens from North Korea are short-term migrant workers and work in the Russian regions for several months. © 2016, CA and CC Press AB. All rights reserved.

CA and CC Press AB
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  • 1 RUDN-University, MGIMO-University, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 2 Center of Social Demography, Institute of Socio-Political Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 3 RUDN-University, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russian Federation
Ключевые слова
Adaptation of migrant workers; China; Labor migration; Migration of the population; North Korea; Philippines; Thailand; Vietnam
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