February 25, 2024

Migrant Flow Slows to Trickle


Migrant Flow Slows to Trickle
The Russian-Kazakh border. Wikimedia commons, Autorizazia.

As the United States faces a migrant crisis, so, too, does Russia, in its own way.

Since the start of Russia's War on Ukraine, the country has seen a sharp decline in the number of immigrants. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, while the number of arriving migrants steadily increased until the peak year of 2022, which saw 11.8 million immigrants, in 2023, the number declined to an estimated 7 million.

Many immigrants have historically come from Central Asian countries with economic ties to Russia, like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The decline has led to a reported worker shortage in low-income and low-status jobs like taxi driving, delivery, cleaning, catering, and construction.

Lower numbers of Russian-born workers, a trend caused both by mobilization and declining birthrates, have exacerbated the problem, although it is not yet critical.

One theory for the decline in migrants is the current state of Russia's economy, as many migrants seem to think that it's no longer profitable to go to Russia for work. Which is true: the economy is stuttering. But then there may simply be new and better domestic opportunities in individuals' home countries that have made it a better option to stay put.

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