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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - CADMUS EUI Research Repository
Title Response to the Research Report' The impact of labour migration on Belarus: a demographic perspective'
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
URL http://cadmus.eui.eu/handle/1814/26646?show=full
Abstract
Contrary to official statistics, a number of estimates, employing census data and population loss due to natural causes, and based on bilateral migration stocks, show that Belarus, since its independence, has had a negative net migration: the numbers come in at about 130,000. Population loss due to external migration is even more considerable (700,000) if one counts migration on the basis of the migrants’ place of birth: many Belarus-born emigrants left the country before 1990 and did not return, and a large number of immigrants after 1990 were Belarus-born repatriated from other former USSR countries. Official statistics for the external net migration rate and labour migrants have been distorted by poor migration accounting, while political considerations have deterred some academic institutions from taking a more critical approach. External migration is negative in demographic terms in quantitative but also in qualitative terms as emigrants are, on average, younger and better educated, while immigrants are less-skilled, with a larger proportion of people past working age. The positive demographic impact of the 1980s high fertility rate has recently ended. Since 2008, the pool of labour resources has been gradually diminishing. The share of people below working age has been falling while the share of those above working age has risen. Thus unfavorable demographic trends in terms of population loss and age distortion are aggravated by external migration. With all the negative demographic impact that external migration implies, labour migration has an ambiguous economic impact. It contributes to sizable human capital losses and a deficit in some sectors (e.g., construction) due to the labour migration to Russia. But it also eases unemployment and provides remittances from the migrants to their communities.

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