Conference e-mail

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Kari Tapiola, ILO

No labour market without migration

Migration is as old as history itself and is driven by demographics, economic opportunity, ecology and many other factors. Migration is a global phenomenon: all countries are either countries of origin, of destination or transition. Countries whose 20th century growth would not have been possible without migration, are now faced with pressures raising out of the logical consequence of their earlier enlightened policies. Consider examples of Germany or Sweden for instance. Migration for labour triggers an immediate question of the conditions of remuneration and work – applicable labour standards. Migration can work as an equalizer between countries or regions with uneven development. Since the early 1990s the Russian Federation has been the biggest receiving, sending and transit country for migrant workers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Most of this migration is illegal, with only 5 – 10 per cent regularized. The recent economic problems of the Russian Federation has diminished somewhat the number of migrants, but bleak prospects in their own countries and demographic developments conspire to keep their share significant in the Russian economy. Like Germany, Russia will continue to need significant inputs through migration. The labour market has always meant movement of both labour and production, generally both. The management of this process for the benefit of both the workers, and the whole population, and the economy will continue to call for active labour market policies, including policies that optimize the benefits of migration.