Migration non-stop


March 2, 2011

Migration non-stop

Among all the countries in Northern Africa where mass protests against existing regimes took place Libya happened to be the hottest revolutionary spot. Antiauthority demonstrations in the country didn’t stop last week despite of the fact that the government used combat aviation. According to the official data, not less than 300 people died already (rights advocates and opposition announce figures twice as large). Foreign countries hastily evacuate their citizens from Libya.

The Libyans themselves, who wish to leave the cities overtaken with disorders, have to count on themselves only. During the first days of disorders more prosperous citizens moved to neighbor countries, to Egypt in particular. Following them, thousands of less wealthy refugees started to storm Egyptian boarders, but Egyptian authorities, the country which has just gone through its own revolution, reacted with stepping up security measures at the boarders.

Italy stood motionless with fear. It became the first European state into which the inflows of “refugees from the revolution” rushed from Northern African countries. As early as in January on Italian island Lampedusa there were 5.000 Tunisians who escaped from revolutionary motherland. Rome even appealed to European Union asking to contribute €100 million, patrol airplanes, and ships in order to cope with the inflows of migrants. There is no any data about the amount of Tunisians who managed to get over the backstops created by Italy. However, Italian government is afraid that they will have to go through a new wave: 200-300 thousand of Libyans are looking at the North as at a refuge from massacres and a possible civil war. The transportation across the Mediterranean Sea is fraught with large risks for life. Every fourth migrant does not get to the point of destination of the trip: their unpretentious ships just roll over.

Displacement of languages 

The latest events in Maghreb countries have led to changes in traditional migration routes. Before they went through the Mediterranean Sea to South European countries – former metropolis of Northern African countries, first of all to Spain, Italy, and France. Now refugees started to look up to the shortest routes of emigration. And these are, first of all, neighboring African countries.  

Apart from Italy, Greece also complains about an increased number of migrants, the country to which Egyptian citizens have headed. The situation in Spain is relatively calm at the moment. Before the government of Spain surrounded its African exclaves Ceuta and Melilla (regions separated from the main territory of the state) with a six meter wall that is more or less secure backstop from migrants.

Basic values of European Union multiculturalism happened to be completely discredited as a result of the inflow of refugees from Northern Africa. British Prime Minister David Cameron at a conference in Munich publically declared that “the doctrine of multiculturalism” had broken down. And before that German chancellor Angela Merkel had pointed out on the mistakes of migration policy. According to her words, the policy of international understanding and successful coexistence of different cultures inside of one state was not crowned with success.

*Curve of instability

A lot of European countries started to change the multiculturalism policy several years ago. In November 2009 Switzerland prohibited to build minarets by referendum, in July 2010 French parliament endorsed the prohibition to wear hijabs in public places. Last year France deported from its territory more than 8.5 thousand Romanian and Bulgarian gypsies. Italy also had a dig at gypsies. In response to these actions from the government Muslim and Gipsy communities were organizing meetings and industrial actions in front of governmental institutions. Some Muslim parents took their daughters away from French schools and sent them to study to those countries where it was not prohibited to wear hajibs. The events of the last days have just dramatized the situation: European Union, satiated with cheap labor force has been a while, declared pretty openly and crisply that it will not solve refugee-related problems of these countries at its own expense.

Loads of nannies for migrants  

As opposed to such an approach, Ukrainian government has declared that the country will not be able to go without cheap foreign labor force. In mid-February First Deputy Minister of Social Policy Vasiliy Nadraga stated, “The Cabinet of Ministers has a liability, which the governments of European countries had once, to develop a strategy to attract labor force from outside of Ukraine. I would divide the possible ways to solve these problems in the perspective of the next 10-20 years into two components. The first one is labor migration itself, including recruitment of unskilled labor force from the Third World countries. The second component is recovery of own labor migrants”. Mr. Nadraga evaluated existing shortage of labor force in 1.5-2 million people.

But in the case if some Northern African migrants chose Ukraine as a final destination of their travels, we will not be able to receive and employ them swiftly and qualitatively. Up to now official Kiev has not adopted a law on migration policy, and the State Migration Service exists on the paper only so far (however, there is a paragraph about creation of a special authority in the sphere of migration in our country in the plan of actions Ukraine-EU). Today Ukraine is the only country in Europe without a unique migration service.

Per se, the Ministry of Interior Affairs (State Department for Citizenship, Immigration, and Registration of Individuals which is a part of it), State Committee for Nationalities and Religions (beside that, it’s offered to dissolve it as a result of administrative reform), Security Service of Ukraine, Customs and Border Service, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs deal with migrants at the moment. But the problem is that all of them work separately and only partially fulfill their functions. As a result, a lot of state institutions deal with the same problem, but nobody bears final responsibility.

Waiting for the guests from Maghreb  

The corresponding authorities have not registered an increased number of migrants from Northern Africa and the Middle East in Ukraine for now. A steady tendency remains unchanged: illegal aliens arrive to Ukraine from Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Somali, and Uzbekistan as a rule. The refugees are kept in special temporary residence centers of an open type. There are only three of them: “Chernomorka” in Odessa region and two in Zakarpattya region – “Latorytsya” in the city of Mukachevo and “Barvonok” in the village Perechyn. A new temporary residence center for the families of refugees is being finished building in Chop (Zakarpattya region).

Of course, a large majority of refugees in Ukraine do not live in temporary residence centers, they live on their own – mainly in the cities, settling down as they can. All that the state spends on them is a one-time assistance of UAH 17 as-received refugee document. According to the national legislature, it is prohibited to deport people who have obtained refugee status or have asked for it (they get a special certificate about it). According to data of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine, 1.500 people requested this status last year, but only 135 people got it.

Illegal migrants are kept in centers for temporal keeping. Part of them is under the supervision of the Frontier Service, and the largest two structures (in Chernigov and Volyn region – in Rassudov and Zhuravychi) are under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

European Union took on obligations to support such centers and € 3.6 million were provided for it. However foreigners, who are based there, always complain about bad living conditions and human rights organization Human Rights Watch accuses Ukraine in abusive treatment of illegal migrants. To deport them often turns into a completely overwhelming task. The amount of money necessary for such a “removal” depends on which country the illegal alien needs to be sent to, and quite often it reaches several thousands dollars.

Valeriy Chaliy, Deputy General Director of Razumkov Center says that the proposition to fill workplaces in Ukraine by means of migrants is unlikely to be reasonable, far less in the light of the latest events and bitter experience of European Union. “This is an attempt to solve the questions without increasing wages and quality of life, but keeping the working class on the level of low wages instead and, in such a way, to place pressure on competitive workplaces in Ukraine”, he says. There is no need to create comfortable working conditions for unskilled foreigners who pretend to low-paid workplaces, and in a short-term outlook this variant looks winning. In case of a mass recruitment of foreigners to Ukraine there will be a need to solve the problem of coexistence of different cultures in one country. It is possible that the level of xenophobia and interethnic intolerance may increase in hundreds of times as it has happened in many European countries.

Migratory processes in Ukraine risk becoming uncontrollable without secure legal framework and responsible authorities. “We are not talking about prohibitory barriers, but about regulation of these processes, directing them into a legal path, and probably, about the support of those kinds of migration which correspond the most to the needs of Ukrainian market”, says Alexander Sushko, the director of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic cooperation.

At the moment there is no need to wait for the influx of illegal aliens because of the latest events in Northern African countries. Situational migration routes go through the Mediterranean Sea today, skipping Ukraine. At the same time, in case of perturbations scope outgrowth many Ukrainians who became citizens of these revolutionary countries will come back to their small motherland, besides that – they will not come alone, but with their numerous Arab relatives.

Investors and compatriots

The tendency of the last years in developed countries of the Western Hemisphere and Eastern European countries is recruitment of high-skilled immigrants. Rich investors and “clear heads” are not just welcomed there, all the necessary conditions for comfortable life and a double-quick acquisition of residence permit or citizenship are being created for them. For example, in Canada only one person out of 15 candidates gets permanent resident status – when qualifying a potential immigrant, such factors are being considered – age, education and professional qualifications, work experience, proficiency in languages, and demand on his profession. Besides that, such difficult factors of personal evaluation as purposefulness, optimism, and motivation are being considered as well.

An annual quota of 140.000 people is established in the USA for new work migrants. The priority is given to people with “extraordinary or exclusive” abilities in science, art, business, education or sport, internationally recognized scientists and top-managers. Investors who invested into the economy of the USA more than $0.5 million are privileged as well. In fact, this approach brought major issues for the USA in the 90s – at that time the representatives of Russian criminal underworld were simply “paying at the desk” and without any obstacles getting their Green Cards.

The British government today also plans to limit the inflow of migrants and stakes on prosperous foreigners. Investors who are ready to invest into British economy no less than £5 million will get a residence permit during two yeas, not during five years as other migrants. And they are promised to get citizenship within five years.

Russia has announced that it intends to actively resettle its compatriots who live abroad to its territory. Therefore it makes more severe the migration policy – this year not more than 1745 thousand permissions for work will be given, that is 200 thousand less. At the same time, a simplified variant to get permission for work for high-skilled foreign specialists is in effect in Russian Federation.

Many Eastern European countries carry out a policy of preferences for people with similar language, religion, and mentality. For example, in Poland “the card of a Pole” is introduced, and Romanian and Hungarian governments pay attention to the questions of “compatriots” not lees than Russia.

Alina Yeremova, magazine “Expert”