Conference “Transnational Rights of Migrants”

As part of Cross-sectoral Forum "Social Dimensions of Migration: Challenges, Rights, Hopes", held by the National Institute for Strategic Studies in partnership with Non-Governmental Organization "Damo Radu", Research and Analytical Center "Cedos", and European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), the international scientific and practical conference "Transnational Rights of Migrants" took place on December 10, where particular attention was paid to the transfer of migrants’ rights related to pensions and social security, acquired abroad, to their homeland, as well as to the development of transnational social and labor rights of migrants.

The conference, which was attended by scientists, civil servants, business representatives, representatives of international organizations, including the International Organization for Migration, NGOs, analyzed the problems in the field of social security of migrants, as well as international experience in solving them, which could be useful for Ukraine, prospects for signing and implementing interstate agreements and perspectives of developing the transnational rights of migrants, and also the need to promote voluntary social insurance in Ukraine, etc.

Oleksander Litvinenko, director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies, opened the Conference with a welcoming speech. He stressed the topicality of migration issues, mentioned the growing number of migrant workers who, after returning to Ukraine, need practical assistance in realization of their pension rights. Director also informed that the development of regulating migration strategy in the context of the state social policy-making is one of the main tasks of the Institute.

Halyna Tretiakova, the chairwoman of Verkhovna Rada Committee on Social Policy and Veterans' Rights Protection, gave the address on
insufficient provision of social and labor rights of migrants with the current treaty framework.
The implementation of agreements and the development of clear administrative mechanisms that would guarantee proper access of citizens to their rights remain extremely important tasks. It is also necessary to ensure the technical conditions for the implementation of interstate agreements, in particular, to increase the capacity of the institutions responsible for their implementation.

Yaroslav Zhalilo, deputy director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies, head of Center for Economic and Social Studies of NISS, was the moderator of the first two sections of the Conference, dedicated to the regulatory framework of social protection of migrant workers and the role of international cooperation in ensuring the rights of migrants. The first section started with the report of Yevhen Perebyinis, the ambassador of Ukraine in Czech Republic. It coved social aspects of labor migration of Ukrainians to the Czech Republic, related problems and ways to solve them. After that Pavlo Sadokha, regional Vice-President of Ukrainian World Congress, presented cases from the experience of Ukrainians in Portugal, referred to the issue of bilateral social agreements. Olena Okhrimenko, the head of Pensions Department of Pension Fund of Ukraine, revealed some features of pension provision for people working abroad.

Philip Hunter, the representative of International Organization for Migration, gave the presentation “Protecting migrant workers through recruitment regulation”, which highlighted the work of Global Policy Network on Recruitment. Iryna Rozka, capacity building officer of International Organization for Migration, illustrated the role of bilateral social security agreements as a tool to protect the rights of migrant workers and regulate migration processes. Italian migration expert Pino Gulia narrated Patronato ACLI’s strategy for the protection of the rights of citizens and migrant workers.

Olena Fediuk, Marie Skladowska-Curie fellow at the University of Padua, chief researcher at the “Laboratory of Rights: Towards Transnational Labor Rights?” Project of the Temporary Employment Agency and Third-Country Workers in the EU, moderated the sections on migration of Ukrainians in the conditions of COVID-19 and current issues of migration policy. Series of migrants’ problems that arise due to the spread of COVID-19 were outlined by Olena Stepanenko, representative of Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights on the observance of social and economic rights, Francesca Alice Vianello, PhD in sociology, post-doc fellow at the University of Padua, and Vasyl Voskoboinyk, chairman of the Ukrainian association of international employment companies. The report of Olena Malynovska, chief researcher of Social Strategy Department of the Center for Economic and Social Studies of NISS, was dedicated to prospects for migration from Ukraine after COVID crisis. She informed that the connection between economic crises and the decrease in the intensity of migration processes has been weakening since 1980s, meanwhile migrants still remain one of the most vulnerable categories of workers during periods of economic downturn.

Important characteristics of migration of Ukrainians to EU countries were revealed in the report of Oleg Gorbenko, deputy head of the Consular Support Department of the Consular Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Czolij Eugene, president of NGO “Ukraine-2050”,
described the benefits of multiple citizenship for the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state during the discussion about
perspective directions of migration policy development.

In her closing speech Oleksandra Kolomiiets, head of the Social Strategy Department of the Center for Economic and Social Studies of NISS,
stressed the great practical significance of migration issues in our country and expressed hope that the conference on migration will become a traditional annual event held at the National Institute for Strategic Studies.
She thanked all the participants for their reports at the Conference and for their practical contribution to social and economic security of Ukrainian migrant workers.

The closing ceremony of the Conference was also attended by representatives of the co-organizers – Iaryna Khomtsii (director of the NGO "Damo Radu Agency") and Nataliia Lomonosova (analyst and project manager of the Cedos think tank).

The proposals based on the results of the Conference will be prepared and sent to the Office of the President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada and relevant ministries.