The State Border Service of Ukraine states that the migration situation in Ukraine has undergone some changes in recent years. In particular, there is an increase in illegal border crossing by citizens of the former Soviet Union, primarily Georgia, Russia and Moldova.

According to the statistics, in 2012, 68% of migrants detained for illegal border crossing and other offences, came from the post-Soviet countries, mostly from Moldova (740), Georgia (219), Russia (119 - natives of Chechnya), Azerbaijan (92), Armenia (84), Uzbekistan (72), Tajikistan (59), Kyrgyzstan (50) and Kazakhstan (17).

Similar trend was observed in the first half of 2013 as well. 65% of the total number of migrants detained for illegal border crossing and other offences were citizens of Moldova (217 people), Georgia (111), Russia (56 - natives of Chechnya), Armenia (32), Azerbaijan (16), Uzbekistan (14), Tajikistan (11) and Kyrgyzstan (6).

Moreover, migrants from Somalia, Afghanistan and Vietnam find ways to use the procedure of legal entry, the student channel and refugee status for temporary legalization in Ukraine. Unstable situation in Syria also forces its citizens to leave the country and find refuge in Ukraine.

In general, the State Border Service says that this year situation proves the pressure of illegal migrants on the border of Ukraine has not decreased. On the contrary, illegal aliens try to find new ways to illegally cross the border.

ForUm has asked experts about the reasons of such heavy inflow of illegal migrants from the post-soviet countries and what consequences the situation may result in.

Taras Chornovil, expert in international relations, member of several parliaments:

- Among the reasons there can be strengthening of migration rules in Russia, and a part of illegal migrant workers start coming to Ukraine, which indeed causes serious problems for the labor market, starting from illegal jobs and finishing with realization of illegal goods.

Another problem is that these people do not fully adapt in Ukraine. In Kharkiv, for example, there are quarters of Vietnamese builders, who do not speak any language by native. They live and depend on inner circles and clans, they have their own mafia, and within the time our law enforcements may have to deal with uncontrollable Ukrainian-Asia Triad. 

What we should do is to launch social state programs to adapt these people to our country, to give them rights and obligations. Like in U.S. we should institute an examination for knowledge of the national language, basic laws and history. There must be certain qualification requirements to give migrants a chance to legalize their status, get the right for residence and work.

As for other illegal migrants, Ukraine should change the system of border crossing, strengthen registration and introduce certain limitations. Otherwise, Ukraine will turn into a dump for migration. Ukraine should isolate itself somewhat, and our law enforcements and migration services should get rid of corruption and start working.

Yevhen Kopatko, sociologist:

- Migrants from post-soviet countries chose Ukraine for further migration to Europe. Ukraine serves as a transit country, as many experts agree on this. However, for the moment it is not such a big problem as in Russia and Moscow.

Valery Patskan, chairman of the parliamentary committee on human rights and multiculturalism:

- Ukraine is located between Europe and Asia, and the primary goal of illegal migrants in Ukraine is to get to Europe. Our state gives migrants 18 hryvnias per day, and I doubt people come to Ukraine just for this money.  

Kost Bondarenko, political scientist, Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:

- Ukraine can hardly be rounded on the way to Europe, thus it serves as a transit country not only for oil, gas or goods, but for people as well. A considerable part of such migrants gets detained at the border and deported.

The post-soviet territory includes not only prosperous Baltic countries, but also such countries as Armenia, Tajikistan, where the living standards leave much to be desired. Some people run for economic reasons, others for political motives. Many Russians choose Ukraine believing that our borders are less protected than in Russia. However, the fact that a big part of illegal migrants is stopped proves effective work of our frontier guards.  

Iryna Prybytkova, leading research worker of the Institute of sociology of the National Academy of Science, professor, doctor of science:

- There is nothing extraordinary in these figures, they fall within the long-standing trend of migration. For many years the major part of administrative crimes have been committed by former citizens of USSR.

Ukraine serves as a transit country for illegal transfer of migrants. It is an international criminal business, a profitable one. Organizations involved into illegal migration are better equipped and informed than our frontier services. And channels of illegal migration change constantly. When one or two are found and closed, they find other paths. For example, there was an international underground tunnel, found two hundred meters far from the border in Uzhgorod.

However, I do not think the flow of illegal migrants will grow. Judging by my experience, every service tries to overstate the difficulties of its tasks and achievements. All figures must be taken critically and double checked. I tell you as an analyst. Frontier services, for example, include every traveller they banned from entry into the list of illegal migrants. Thus, when a person file documents incorrectly, or there are suspicions that the photo on a passport was forged, frontier guards send such travellers back to where they come from but report them as illegal migrants.


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