Labor Migration

Program Goal – to reduce illegal labor migration from Armenia and promote the reintegration of returnees.

According to a recent survey on labor migration conducted by the Gallup Organization, only 25 percent of adult Armenians are permanently employed. The same survey found that approximately one-third of Armenians are interested in seeking employment abroad. Russia is the primary country of destination for Armenian labor migrants. Although reliable figures on the number of Armenians working in Russia do not exist, 31 percent of Armenians have at least one family member working in Russia.

In an effort to minimize illegal labor migration, Russia has adopted regularization procedures that offer migrants an opportunity to legalize their status upon arrival. Although these registration procedures were recently simplified, most labor migrants in Russia remain unaware that they can easily legalize their status. As a result, over 90 percent of labor migrants from Armenia continue to work in Russia illegally. These illegal labor migrants frequently are subject to exploitative living and working conditions and they fall victim to organized smuggling and trafficking syndicates. Upon their return to Armenia, labor migrants often have tremendous difficulty finding jobs, in part because they do not have access to reliable sources of information on employment opportunities.

In order to discourage illegal labor migration from Armenia and to support the return and reintegration of labor migrants, Eurasia Partnership Foundation is implementing a program that will increase the understanding among policy-makers of current trends in labor migration, develop the capacities of local institutions to serve as Migration and Return Resource Centers, and develop partnerships between these resource centers and similar centers in Armenia and abroad.

Increased Understanding of Labor Migration Trends

Eurasia Partnership Foundation’s Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) conducts the Data Initiative, a yearly household survey across the South Caucasus of trends in household economic behavior and social attitudes, including attitudes towards labor migration. In 2007, with support from the International Organization for Migration, the Caucasus Research Resource Center also conducted a pilot survey in Yerevan and three of Armenia’s regions to examine attitudes towards labor migration among adults and to determine the profile of potential labor migrants. The results of both surveys are disseminated to government, civil society organizations and the general public through presentations and the CRRC website.

In order to better understand migration dynamics among highly-educated Armenians, Eurasia Partnership Foundation will conduct an assessment in spring 2008 that will examine trends in elite migration from Armenia, including: