European officials are considering the possible uncontrolled migration to be one of the most serious challenges on the way to visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union states. Including the ones, that originate from the territory of our country. Europeans fear a rampant labor migration to the EU countries of Ukrainians themselves as well as that Ukraine will be used by third-country nationals to penetrate to the EU. But the analysis of the current situation shows that this problem is more contrived than real. Ukraine is not only a part to the readmission agreement with the EU and with Russia, but also continuing to strengthen its external borders, in order to prevent the transit of illegal immigrants to European Union or their settling in our territory.
Indeed, due to the unstable economic situation in Ukraine part of the employable population was forced to go after the “big bucks” to the CIS countries and far abroad, including the EU countries. Most of them are people ready to perform the odd-job or representatives of technical specialties, demanded by the European labor market. According to unofficial data their number is approximately up to 1 – 1.5 million people. They take up the jobs that Europeans themselves do not want to deal with. In such a case, even legal migrant workers are paid for their work less than the European citizens in similar positions. And although in many EU countries legislation provides protection and some legal guarantees even to illegal immigrants, most of Ukrainian workers remain on the very bottom of the status ladder without any hope for improvement in the future.
In any case, the problems in the EU, and the gradual improvement of the situation in Ukraine led to the fact that the Ukrainians do not consider labor migration to the EU, as a kind of accidental decision. Unlike other migrants, they rarely become members of criminal gangs. As a rule, they quickly adapt to the environment and easily get along with the EU locals. So the borders of the EU should not be closed for the Ukrainians, vice versa – the process should be made entirely legitimate and law-abiding.
In this connection it is vital to properly direct the ongoing changes. European countries have a constant need for fresh labor resources, as in the area of unskilled labour so in the intellectual sphere. And Ukraine, as a country with one of the highest in Europe levels of population education (more than 70% of the population with higher education), can be a source of personnel so necessary for the EU. Also it should not be forgotten that the number of Ukrainians who speak English, German, Spanish, Italian and other languages of the EU countries is constantly growing.
Another important aspect of the situation with the workers from Ukraine is that they go searching for work, leaving behind their families and little children. It is thanks to the money earned by them in the EU, these families can have more or less normal life. Although it is difficult to call life in separation from loved ones a normal one. Almost all Ukrainians, who went to work abroad, feel this way, so they try to return home and reunite with their families at the earliest opportunity. In this context, labor migration from Ukraine to the EU for the most part should be viewed as medium or long term, but not as permanent one, that significantly changes the emphasis in the general picture. Very often, Ukrainian migrant workers transfer some of the money they earn to Ukraine to build a house or to buy some kind of real estate, so then they could return to Ukraine and live in good conditions.
One also should not forget that by the cultural and civilizational features of their mentality Ukrainians are much closer to representatives of any country in the European Union than people from Asia, Africa or South America, whose presence is quite noticeable in almost all European countries. People from the former colonies after coming to Europe have been slow to assimilate into European society, and often create stable ethnic and religious groups, conflicting with the indigenous population. All EU countries to a greater or lesser extent faced this problem. In case with the immigrants from Eastern Europe, in particular from former Soviet Union, there is no such a problem.
In conclusion, it should be noted that by giving Ukraine a clear “European perspective” the EU leadership actually recognized the fact, that Ukrainians eventually will become rightful members of the European community. So now is the right time to lay the foundation for future good-neighborly relations. Since in the future the habitants of the united Europe and Ukrainians will have to live side by side, work together to solve problems, respond to common challenges.