Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Perception Prism of State Authorities and Ngos on Migration in Ukraine

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Perception Prism of State Authorities and Ngos on Migration in Ukraine

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. This paper does not pursue the goal of providing a profound analysis of the migration situation in Ukraine but rather presents the views of two sets of actors on the issue: Ukrainian migration authorities and leading NGOs. This paper provides a valuable insight in that the opinions of both of these groups of actors are combined in a single work. This is a perspective that is not frequently examined, partly due to the difficulty of accessing state authorities in Ukraine. Using a qualitative interviewing method, this article highlights migration aspirations in Ukraine in the scope and to the extent that they have been perceived as relevant by Ukrainian state authorities and NGO leaders. To provide context to this issue, new developments in the state migration policy are detailed here. Additionally, perceived policy implications on migration tendencies as well as some migration outcomes are given particular attention. This article also explores how media discourse on migration in the country is articulated by the considered actors and more importantly, whether any change in the discourse is evident for the time being, what this change is about and what are respective explanations.

JEL Classification : R23, P25

Keywords: labour migration, migration discourse, Ukraine, EU, Russia


Present day Ukraine is the country of origin, and simultaneously a transit and destination country for, international migration flows. Labour migration remains the most prevalent migration pattern in Ukraine, with the largest part of its labour migrants going to the Russian Federation. Many Ukrainian nationals also migrate to EU countries for work. Ukraine is considered to be unique in this respect, having significant migration flows both to the EU and to resource-rich CIS countries (Mansoor & Quillin (ed.), 2006, pp. 35-36).

Due to its close geographical proximity to the EU, Ukraine continues to be a transit country for mainly irregular migrants moving westward - to the EU. This country therefore becomes a beneficiary of "unintended" immigration from international migrants who failed to penetrate the EU countries. Or, they were readmissioned from the EU to Ukraine as third country nationals. Often unwilling to return back to home countries and be financially not capable of doing so, they have no other option but to stay in Ukraine.

Ukraine has also become an attractive destination country for labour migrants. Immigration statistics show that labour migrants in Ukraine from Asia have increased in number (Building Migration Partnerships 2011, p. 13). However, recent data do not support the story that immigrants from Africa, South-Eastern and Central Asia compose a major share of irregular immigrants in this country. As an illustration, 88 per cent of irregular immigrants, apprehended in Ukraine between January and September 2011, were citizens of CIS states, who treat Ukraine as a destination country (Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, 2012).

Prior to 1999, irregular immigrants took advantage of the relatively open immigration system in Ukraine as the study of the Kennan Institute in 2004 revealed (Braichevska et al., 2003), or, to put it better, took advantage of the migration system before its review. The redesigned migration framework started in 2010, as a part of wider administrative reform. The State Migration Service was established under the Ministry of Interior. This reform process continues. Many, however, particularly from the non-governmental sector, have voiced criticism of Ukraine's migration policy and its process for implementation. (Chumak, 2006; Human Rights Watch, 2011). These criticisms mostly focus on implementation shortcomings, unlinked to the policymakers themselves, or perceptions of them.

This paper attempts to analyse migration perceptions and presents the views of leading Ukrainian state migration authorities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). …

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