EAEU largely delivered on ensuring freedom of movement of labor force

This was said by Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, in his speech at the plenary session Education and Labor Market: Tools of Interaction within the framework of the 9th Nationwide Forum National Qualifications System of Russia. 

As was noted by the Head of the EEC Board, shaping a common labor market in the Eurasian Economic Union was the result of implementing one of the four key principles or freedoms of the EAEU – freedom of movement of labor resources.

“For citizens of the EAEU, restrictions on admission to the labor market have been lifted, they are exempt from mandatory registration for 30 days, and their certificates of education are mutually recognized,” Mikhail Myasnikovich gave examples.

In general, according to the Chairman of the EEC Board, the expert assessment by Vnesheconombank shows that the common labor market has been completed by more than 70% to the level specified by the Treaty on the EAEU, while the market of goods – by 65%, of services – by 45%, of capital – by about 40%.

At the same time, as Mikhail Myasnikovich noted, today the systems for establishing professional standards and independent qualification assessment are developing separately in the EAEU countries.

“There is no unification of norms in the educational space of the EAEU, or the CIS either. This is due to the fact that this area is not on the EAEU agenda. We recognize this problem and are trying to solve it, but yet the Commission’s efforts have not been successful. The situation is getting worse, discrepancies in the specialist training conditions are growing, and if the problem is not solved at the high level, the us/them problem might arise, which is unacceptable,” noted the Chairman of the EEC Board, emphasizing that, despite the fact that the EAEU is an economic union, the health and lives of people must remain a priority.

“During the pandemic, people’s mobility decreased, but we overcame the difficulties together,” said Mikhail Myasnikovich reminding about the effectiveness of using this practice.

He also spoke about new forms of employment in the EAEU in the context of developing digital economy, those different from the usual relationship between an employee and an employer, such as self-employment, platform employment, freelancing and remote hiring by an employer from one EAEU Member State of a worker in another Member State to perform work without opening a representative office in the employee's country of residence.

“These new forms of employment are developing faster than traditional ones and more actively than the legislative framework, which means that risks are created for all parties of labor relations due to the lack of legal regulation and certain aspects getting under the radar. It is crucial that workers in these types of employment are covered by all occupational safety standards,” noted Mikhail Myasnikovich.

According to the Chairman of the EEC Board, these problematic issues can only be resolved through consistent work by the EAEU countries to harmonize their national rules.

“So far the Commission does not have the appropriate powers. But I ask the Governments to grant the EEC the right to address these problems. We are ready to take part in this,” said Mikhail Myasnikovich.

The Head of the EEC Board also drew attention to the need to develop a mechanism for forecasting and meeting the demand of the common labor market in workers in order to minimize the imbalance between the required workforce and that trained in vocational education systems. The Commission’s responded to this challenge by launching the Work without Borders digital program, which allows to receive a full range of services for employment, including remotely. Today the system contains over 643,000 applications by more than 171,000 users. 

According to Mikhail Myasnikovich, it is quite important to create conditions for facilitating access of workers and members of their families to the social protection system and medical care in the state of employment.

“This issue is being actively discussed by the Commission. There are many problems associated with financing. But this subject should not be hushed up. Citizens should feel they are protected not only by their countries, but also by the Eurasian Economic Union,” summarized the Chairman of the EEC Board.

Mikhail Myasnikovich expressed hope that the discussion on the sidelines of the 9th Nationwide Forum would contribute to solving pressing problems and making appropriate managerial decisions for establishing an effective common labor market of the EAEU countries in present conditions.