Armenia: The Current Migration Issue From An Economic StandpointBy: Nazeeg Haneshian | Posted on: 11.07.2012
Migrations of varying proportions and owing to a variety of factors have always been a part of the Armenian reality. However during the previous two decades,Armenia saw an unprecedented high number and quality of emigrants. This outpour was beyond that which is seen in a stable economy resulting in challenges that alarmingly affect different aspects of the social life within the nation such as the decrease in marriages and lower birth rates.
This mass migration has not only affected Armenia economically and demographically, but also has social implications. Women have become the heads of the household, while the men are away. Notably in villages, where women take on the responsibility of completing the farming tasks, as well as taking care of the family. For younger generation females, it has become a struggle to find a husband and start a family. This has in affect contributed to the increased difficulty of maintaining the population stability due to these low birth rates that have occurred as a result of the situation.
Although migration is generally seen as a negative indicator of prosperity for a country, a cycle can be set in motion such that the skills and knowledge gained from the more developed country. This cycle can allow for a convergence in economic and social conditions. The “Virtuous Migration Circle” occurs when those who are unemployed, or underemployed in their home country are economically motivated to migrate to other countries with more opportunities for the skills they have to offer. When this circle is utilized properly, it has the potential to benefit the developing country. It is a chance for them to minimize the differences in economic opportunities between developed countries where the workers are migrating towards, and lead to convergence.
In the case of Armenia, the outward migrants are currently working abroad and sending remittances to their families, which reduces the poverty, and potentially accelerates the economic and job growth. When outward migrants return to Armenia with new skills and technologies, this domino effect leads to the development of new industries and jobs. Political stability, improved living conditions, greater wealth and more intellectual freedom are some of the driving forces that lead these Armenians to leave from the so called “transit” country, to the “destination” countries, such as Russia and Ukraine. Returns of skilled labour would have a positive effect on both companies and the entire sector in which they are active. Specialists returning from abroad can substantially foster economic development and increase the quality of labour force in Armenia.
In order to address the aforementioned issues, Armenia must take an aggressive stance on increasing productivity and limiting emigration. In order to increase economic productivity and innovation, Armenia must invest heavily into technology grants and facilities for post secondary institutions creating jobs for those with high level education and promoting growth in the intellectual property produced by the country. Grants and facilities should be aimed at technology and engineering faculty and facilities, as they will be able to create the tools and technologies specific to Armenia’s necessities and economic climate. This type of action can help slow down and even reverse the “brain drain” occurring in Armenia, and pave the road for it to be a leader in technology and innovation in the future. Armenia should also allow for tax credits and subsidies for Research and Development in technology and engineering companies creating an economic climate ripe for foreign investment.
Evidently, the distribution of scientific and technological grants and subsidies will aid in the advancement of the Research and Development sector allowing for the development in economic growth. Promoting Armenian innovation, in the Research and Development sector, will aid in the enhancement of employment prospects while simultaneously retaining local wealth in an enriched cultural and social environment. This policy will eventually provide many resources that were previously unavailable, and stimulate development into a transforming Armenia to its economic potential.
Data from the World Bank
(These numbers do not include those who have migrated temporarily to work in other countries.)
Supporting the development and distribution of scientific and technical potential, establishment of a productive system for training scientific personal will support the development of scientific sector as a pre requisite of providing state security, national economic, educational and cultural development. Armenia with a knowledge-based economy, will advance within in the research sector, and will be able to flourish competitively in the growing global economy. The foreseen outcome of these policies is a prosperous Armenia whose economy thrives on Intellectual Property Development and Foreign Investment, which can be achieved through the gradual return of the highly skilled migrants and Diaspora Armenians.
Data from World Bank