feradi.info
07/23/2015
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The untapped potential of Armenian seasonal migrants - Armenia has the highest emigration rate in the region. Seasonal labor migrants constitute the largest share of migrants. As a result, remittances make up around 21.3% of Armenia’s GDP. While the negative consequences of migration are often discussed, little is done to harness the potential of the emigrants for the development of the country. - Block 1
 
Over 60,000 Armenians annually migrate for seasonal work
85% of the seasonal migrants work in Russia
76% of seasonal migrants sent on average a third of their monthly income home
Remittances constitute 21.3% of Armenia’s GDP

YET

Block 2  
Less than 1% of the remittances are spent on investing in enterprise in Armenia (the rest is spent on consumption - 70-96%, according to different studies).
 
Block 3
The reasons for no interest in investing:
 
Unfavorable business environment
“The business environment is not favorable in Armenia. In addition to the legal payments, the tax service may fine you without any proper reason.” (30, male, seasonal migrant, rural Lori)
 
Unfair market competition, obstacles accessing the market
“The great majority of business owner in Armenia avoid taxes. In order to do this, you should have the support of authorities. If you try to follow the laws and act accordingly, you become less competitive in the market.” (30, male, seasonal migrant, rural Lori)
 
Low levels of general trust in people and personal ability
“People don’t trust each other and as a result instead of combining efforts and resources that will insure larger outcome in the future they prefer to work individually.” (expert interview, local organization)
 
Lack of information
 
Only 18.2% were aware of reintegration assistance programmes offered by local or international organizations. Moreover, less than one percent had benefited from these schemes.
 
 
 Block 4 - Improvement of the business environment as a key
“If the business environment improves in Armenia, many people will return. If I hear about positive experience of others, it will also encourage me to make some investments in Armenia, but now I hear only about negative stories and bad experiences.” (24, male, seasonal migrant, urban Lori)

Armenia has the highest emigration rate in the region. Seasonal labor migrants constitute the largest share of migrants. As a result, remittances make up around 21.3% of Armenia’s GDP. While the negative consequences of migration are often discussed, little is done to harness the potential of the emigrants for the development of the country.

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