Ukrainian Labour Migration and Remittances in the European Union

By Strielkowski, Wadim; Sperkova, Lenka | Trames, September 2016 | Go to article overview

Ukrainian Labour Migration and Remittances in the European Union


Strielkowski, Wadim, Sperkova, Lenka, Trames


1. Introduction

International migration has become one of the most discussed and analysed topics of the 20th century. Military turmoil, political orientation and general economic climate have all impacted its nature and brought about new waves and streams of migration while increasing the public interest in this topic. Mass inflows and outflows of migrants have shaped labour markets and performance of policies. Therefore, researchers started studying potential determinants of migration and impacts of the migration on the source and destination countries that would also contribute to developing regulatory measures and international legal framework of this phenomenon.

Since the 1950s, the situation in the Europe has been significantly influenced by the introduction of "Four freedoms" and the development of the European Integration process that has brought freedom of movement of people and workers and series of employment opportunities not only to the European Union (EU) States but also to non-EU member countries. Within Europe, the East-West stream of migration belongs to the second largest stream of the world after Latin America (sometimes Mexico)-US stream. A number of European countries play an important role in this concept as transition and destination countries for both intra-EU and international migration flows. Ukraine has a unique position in this system. It is the country simultaneously sending and receiving migrants but also the transition country on the migration way to the EU. Also, proximity to the EU borders has made Ukraine an attractive country for the study of socio-economic impacts of migration.

An interest in migration aspects has been noted among researches who strived to determine the majority of economic factors and implications for all participants. The key factor of empirical study has become data, their analysis and phenomenon observed. Remittances are one of the consequences accompanying migration that can be easily interpreted as quantitative measure. Remittance as money transfers are one of the most important channels of the wealth distribution influencing countries on both sides. The socio-economic effects and determinants can be analysed from macro and microeconomic perspective. The result of such analysis often depends on the reliability of data source and explanatory power. The advantage of macroeconomic data originating from the international institutions such as IMF, Eurostat or the World Bank is their availability. On the other side, those highly aggregated datasets derive remittance from balance of payments which captures only a formal form of remittances. The majority of remittances sent to the source country are transferred via formal and informal channels. In view of the high number of illegal or undocumented migrants, official statistics usually underestimate volume of both migration and remittances (the fact that has been acknowledged also by IMF). An alternative approach that allows capturing all channels of transfer is microeconomic research conducted on individual basis. Although listing all related publications would take up several pages of this paper, some relevant ones, e.g. Massey et al. (1997), Massey et al. (2002), Massey (2004), Donato et al. (2005), or Durand and Massey (2010) can be used as examples of this type of research on the study of migration behaviour in Mexico and Latin America (Mexican Migration Project (MMP) and Latin American Migration Project (LAMP)). Douglas Massey and his colleagues provided methodology with aspirations to capture global migration flows. 2

2. Literature review

In recent decades the scope of interest in migration topic has changed in many ways in methodology, topic and results. Unlike the researchers in the 1970s and their specific approach, has been an expansion of the area of interest and a shift from rural-urban migration to global migration flow models with the stress on mutual connection to development (Clemens et al. …

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