Guest-workers: Latvias opportunities, benefits and interests
Ivars Indāns, Dr.demogr.
Joining the European Union (EU) has been the most important event of the Latvias external and internal policy since the renewal of independence of the state. Latvias participation in the EU has changed and influenced economic, social and internal development of the state. One of the most visible phenomena supported by the EU is free movement of labour which in Latvias case meant rapid impact on demographical situation, namely, unpredictably high growth of international migration. As a result of massive emigration, Latvia has lost about 200 thousand inhabitants - of active labour in reproductive age. Taking into account the low birth rate, emigration facilitates depopulation of Latvia. Since 2008, when Latvia was hit by the financial crisis, the trend of emigration got stronger. While Latvia is losing labour at large-scale, it will be increasingly difficult to ensure GDP growth in the long-term − although it gradually resumed in the 2010 - on the account of export-oriented industries. Economic situation dictates the need for elaboration of migration policy, the basis of which was created in the period until Latvia joined the EU. Depopulation of Latvias inhabitants and negative migration rates inevitably raises the question of attracting labour from abroad. Read more..