Labour migration in the post-Soviet/CIS Space: a system of complementarity?

  • Tessa Savvidis
Keywords: labour migration, Commonwealth of Independent States, Russian Federation, legislation and governance, remittances, migration perception


With regard to migration, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) can be described as the jointly continued administration of the legacy of the USSR by its independent successor states, with a common, generally visa-free labour market as one of its most attractive features. Labour migration in the post-Soviet space, in terms of numbers, is the second largest regional migration system in the world, determined by a shared past of internal migration and current inequalities in economic advancement. The economies of participating migrant sending states are typically developing, whereas those of recipient countries can be described as newly advanced and/or rich in commodities. Whereas at least one of the major migrant receiving countries—Russia—has a long history of state controlled or instigated voluntary and involuntary migration movements, migrant recipients Ukraine and Kazakhstan lack this experience. In all source states there exists neither tradition nor experience of governing national labour markets and poverty.