Transformation of migration data collection in post-soviet countries. (Case of the Russian Federation)
The research was conducted in 2005 for RF federal Statistics Service (Rosstat). Its main purpose was to analyze reasons and consequences of considerable deformation of RF migration statistics since the middle of the 1990-ies and to review the experience of the neighbouring countries in the sphere of migration data collection after the decay of the USSR, when former compatriots appeared to be foreign migrants, people obtained freedom for move and when it became clear that new flows of international migrants should be registered and counted in a special way. We used different sources of information: Rosstat official data on migration, statistics collected by Federal border and Federal migration services, Russian and foreign legislation (dealing with registration, migration, status of foreigners, rules of statistics collection), interviews and consultations with experts from authorities responsible for population registration and national statistics agencies in RF and majority of the post-Soviet countries. The main conclusions of our work were as follows: recent changes in RF legislation on registration and status of foreigners did not take into account necessity to collect primary data on long-term foreign migrants for the needs of the national statistics service. Statistics of international migration in RF now is reliable only for flows of nationals. Since 2002 some regions traditionally continue to collect primary data on foreigners for Rosstat , while others do not as it is not obligatory any more. Federal migration service does not publish any information except data on forced and legal labour migrants, access to other data is rather difficult. It means that legislation should be changed, Rosstat must get from the Central data bank of foreigners (which is run since January 2006), either primary or at least aggregated data related to flows and stocks of foreign migrants in RF.