Why compatriots don’t take their place
Last year, due to the coronavirus, several hundred thousand migrants left Russia: 500 thousand Uzbeks, 60 thousand Tajiks, and about 50 thousand Kyrgyz. Those who could not leave, and those who have now decided to return, have been extended the moratorium on the registration of legal stay until September 30. In addition, the authorities have already simplified entry, but migrants are still in no hurry to return. At the moment, the country lacks at least 1.2 million people – and this is only to work on a construction site. And the Russians are in no hurry to replace them. “MegaloPreneur” understood what was happening and the state of the Russian past in the construction business in Russia.
“Russian construction projects will experience a shortage of personnel even after the opening of borders and the return of migrants,” says Vladimir Koshelev, chairman of the Delovaya Rossiya construction committee. – Our volume of growth in construction and installation work is much higher than the labor force available. We add volumes of work, and we are sorely lacking people. Therefore, even if we open the borders and the people who worked here return, we will still not have enough workers. At the moment, as far as we know, there are not enough 600 thousand specialists from different directions at Russian construction sites. ”
In December, the Ministry of Construction decided to stimulate the return of migrants to Russia. There they naturally considered that it was necessary to make it easier for people to enter and they would begin to return to work en masse: the workers would only need a negative test for coronavirus, taken three days before the trip, and on the shoulders of the inviting party lay their placement, supply to migration registration and registration of labor contract. Nevertheless, it is a stretch to call these rules “simplified”. Previously, workers themselves resolved issues with migration registration, but now it has become the responsibility of the employer.
This “hiring” turned out to be somewhat risky for the companies themselves. As reported by the Asia-Plus agency, the Russian construction company Tekhstroy has agreed with the Uzbek side to invite 5,000 Uzbek citizens to Russia. However, the migrants broke the agreement with the company immediately after arriving in Moscow and returned to the jobs where they worked before the pandemic. It can be assumed that the Uzbeks opted for higher, “gray” wages or preferred any other better conditions. After this negative experience, the company refused to accept another 1000 citizens of Tajikistan, whom it independently selected for several months.
The general director of the engineering group “SMART ENGINEERS” Huseyn Pliev believes that the shortage of migrants is not connected with the difficulties of entry. He stressed that the current procedure requires only a negative test for coronavirus from the labor force, but this does not solve the problem. “I think this is a complex problem related to both the spread of the virus and the general economic conditions, as migrant workers, realizing their value, have become more demanding on wages. As for the versions regarding further simplification of the procedure for the entry of migrants, in my opinion, one of the most optimal solutions may be vaccination – for example, a potential employer from Russia is looking for personnel in the CIS countries and purposefully ensures their vaccination.
According to Nikolai Alekseenko, co-chairman of the Delovaya Rossiya construction committee, head of RASK, it is necessary to simplify the entry procedure for migrants, but uncontrolled entry into Russia should not be allowed in order to maintain control over the spread of coronavirus infection. “The labor shortage in the construction industry is quite large, about 30-40%. It can be replaced by simplifying the entry procedure for labor migrants, but there are also some economic difficulties. One of the main reasons for their arrival in Russia is the opportunity to profitably send part of the money they earn home to their family. Therefore, the economic factor becomes important: the ruble exchange rate, price dynamics, and so on play a role. Now the situation with this does not correspond a little to the expectations of visitors. Therefore, the situation is quite possible,
The stage of anger – and we can handle it without you
The shortage of workers leads the construction sector to such despair that proposals began to appear in the information field to attract prisoners to work at large construction sites instead of migrants. This proposal was made by the head of the Federal Penitentiary Service, Alexander Kalashnikov. Then the idea was very much liked by the Minister of Justice of Russia Konstantin Chuichenko and even the Speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin. The idea of attracting convicts to work in the spheres in which migrants work was also liked by 71% of VTsIOM respondents.
Even if we omit the comparison of the initiative with the GULAG, which often appeared in the media, then there will not be enough prisoners in Russia to close the “hole” with the workers. As of April 1 of this year, about 470 thousand people are held in all places of detention – including prisons, colonies, pre-trial detention centers, and temporary detention facilities.
“Regarding the involvement of prisoners in the work – there are many questions, and the answer is more“ no ”than“ yes ”. The main thing is voluntariness, without coercion, so that it does not become some kind of slave labor. The question is how to ensure and control this? In addition, I would like to see the justification for the introduction of such norms – a situation is quite likely when the costs of operating such a system may be higher than the economic return. And here the same issues of work quality, competencies, career guidance, and so on are also relevant, ”says Nikolai Alekseenko.
However, most of MegaloPreneur’s interlocutors saw great potential in this idea if a number of conditions are met. According to Hussein Pliev, it is very important to assess the economic feasibility of this measure. Firstly, specialists from places of deprivation of liberty will need to provide “regime conditions” at the construction site, and this can not be done at every facility, and it will be accompanied by certain costs. On the other hand, it is necessary to keep the prisoners themselves motivated and provide them with an appropriate level of income, otherwise, they simply will not work well.
“Subject to these conditions – the voluntary nature of work and the involvement of convicts not under grave offenses – the measure is very correct, systemic, and it must be supported, especially considering that the prisoners in our country are not particularly involved in work processes. For them, this is an opportunity to learn new skills for themselves, accumulate capital, and, most importantly, after release, these people will have the qualifications and work experience that they will accumulate while serving their sentences. And they will have much fewer questions about finding a job after their release. ”
Not a lordly business?
The average salary of a handyman on a construction site in Moscow is within 50 thousand rubles. Both citizens of the Russian Federation and the CIS are invited to work. No work experience required. Nevertheless, Russians go to construction sites less. And this despite the fact that the average salary, for example, in Ingushetia or Dagestan is 30 thousand rubles.
Pliev notes that Russians want to work at construction sites, but in this area, they have to compete with migrants, and the latter are often victorious. There is a strong belief in construction companies that migrants will be cheaper in terms of cost and more efficient.
“In particular, it is generally accepted that they are more productive, work longer, are not demanding in terms of living conditions, work, it is easier to interact with them – you need to spend less money on creating conditions for their living and work, and they do not require vacations. registration for the shopping mall, social package, – will list Pliev. “However, in fact, in the current conditions, when we have a large shortage of workers, the cost of migrants, including in the Russian market, began to grow and it is often absolutely comparable to the cost of Russian workers.”
The massive outflow of migrants plays into the hands of the Russians. Now they have every opportunity to occupy this area. “In the current conditions, we consider the idea of attracting Russian workers, including those from depressed regions, to Russian construction projects absolutely justified and logical, especially considering that they are now absolutely competitive in terms of their cost. In addition, provided that normal living and working conditions are created, Russian workers are more competitive both in terms of their professional qualities and in terms of their attitude to work. Ultimately, the quality of their work is at a completely different level than the work that is done by labor migrants, “the expert is sure.
Analysts interviewed by Media agreed that attracting workers from depressed Russian regions is a very good idea, but it requires some elaboration. First of all, large construction companies must form a corresponding request to the regions. Then people need to train and improve their qualifications for specific tasks. “We need a direct qualification request from companies based on national projects, and its direct consideration in the formation of educational programs, in determining the number of enrollments of students and listeners, including in the regions of Russia.”, – says Alekseenko.
Pliev is also sure that if you create a normal system for the selection of workers and provide them with an appropriate salary, this will close 50% of the deficit of 1.2 million migrants: certain elaboration as mentioned above. But I am convinced that a sufficient amount of labor is concentrated there (in the regions), which today is really not sufficiently employed. And normal mechanisms, systems for their involvement in labor circulation have not yet been created, so we believe that it is absolutely necessary to do this and economically it will be more than justified since in the current conditions the Russian labor force is absolutely competitive in terms of its cost,