Fivefold unemployment rise in Tatarstan provokes grey labour market

60,000 unemployed people have been registered in the republic, and their number is going up. This hasn’t happened since the crisis in 2008

Fivefold unemployment rise in Tatarstan provokes grey labour market
Photo: Maksim Platonov

The fivefold growth of unemployment in Tatarstan is linked with the handout of COVID money: those who worked illegally and those who were mercilessly laid off when closing for quarantine have rushed to the employment agency. However, less than a half have managed to receive the handouts, as an employer had to make transfers to the Pension Fund of Russia for this purpose. The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan advise not hoping for Putin’s handout, which can’t be equal to a real substitution of a salary, but finding a job right now, in the “high season” when the market has good 33,000 vacancies, which are still haven’t been occupied by labour migrants, especially from neighbouring republics and regions.

Grey market registration

Unemployment in Tatastan has increased five times during the pandemic and has totalled 60,000 people today. It is unprecedented numbers, a bigger number was after the crisis in 2008 when 67,000 people lost their jobs in the republic. The peak was in early May when 15,000 people registered in the employment service at once. Experts forecasts the number of jobless people will keep rising until the fourth quarter, then their amount will go down.

“It was an expected situation for us. The grey market has come and registered,” Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan Elmira Zaripova outlined the situation on 8 June. She thinks that the explosive growth, hasn’t been for years, is linked with Putin’s handouts introduced during the coronavirus epidemic.

However, more than half — 53% — of those who turned to the employment service to obtain an unemployment benefit were denied. The citizens weren’t officially employed, Zaripova explained: the news that a person worked illegally became a revelation for somebody, somebody tried to outsmart the state, but it wasn’t possible because the employment service is connected to the state information system Social Register of the Population, which includes a base of 25 ministries and agencies. In other words, when a person registers, he submits only an application, he isn’t asked where he worked and if he worked at all, how much money he earned — all this information is verified in related agencies. And it came to the surface, it was a complete surprise to many.

Elmira Zaripova thinks that the explosive growth, hasn’t been for years, is linked with Putin’s handouts introduced during the coronavirus epidemic. Photo: Maksim Platonov

This is why only those who were dismissed but had been working for at least 26 weeks until 1 March this year can count on 12,130 rubles a month, and the Pension Fund of Russia has information about it. The others have been denied. The Ministry of Social Protection thinks that the pandemic became another reason to reconsider relationships with employers refusing pay packages in favour of a legal salary.

33,000 vacancies

The benefit, which is though paid for both 6 and 12 months (for pre-pensioners), can’t be a replacement of a salary. This is why Zaripova is urging the citizens not to be on public benefit but actively look for a job. Moreover, there is a reverse wave after the pandemic — opening enterprises and the service industry needs workforce. According to statistics, 500-700 people are finding a job weekly now, up to 2,000 are signing up in the agency.

Now the labour market has over 33,000 vacancies, which have quite well-paid jobs. For instance, an offer for 1,000 drivers with a salary of 35-40,000 rubles, though the market has also about 1,500 offers with a salary up to 30,000 rubles. Teachers, electric and gas welders, constructors, labourers, policemen, workers for the food industry, science are in high demand.

Moreover, the Labour Ministry is recommending caring about finding a job right now because labour migrants will now rush to the republic after quarantine is cancelled, they will grab the best offers. Kazan is still the point of attraction of the workforce from neighbouring republics where the quality of life is anyway lower.

“If not we, our neighbours will come. Don’t miss the chance. It is summer, everybody is tired, wants to go on holiday, but now one can find a job with a worthy salary. One should think about where you will in autumn now,” Zaripova advises.

Now the labour market has over 33,000 vacancies, which have quite well-paid jobs

Telecommuting is another positive lesson of the pandemic. It will expand job seekers’ chances regardless of their city of residence or even the country. The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan has worked with the all-Russian base of vacancies — trudvsem.ru portal — and it will continue this experience.

As for sought-after jobs in the future, their list is annually published. Now it includes 700 jobs. Engineering, oil refining, business competences and IT are a priority.

Benefits for low-income families, food baskets to sole traders and self-employed people

Those who couldn’t obtain the COVID unemployment benefit but worked and the Pension Fund of Russia has this information have received 1,500 rubles. Moreover, there has been offered food help at 1,200 rubles for 9,000 sole traders and self-employed people. According to the minister, the World Bank highly appreciated this supporting measure, however, not the measure of the state but society and businesses. Firstly, those who have never received it obtained it, secondly, 105,000 food baskets have been handed over via 6,500 volunteers in a contactless way, which allowed avoiding crowds and risks of infection. For instance, food in the USA was handed out in the street, and this provoked an outbreak of the epidemic. The third tranche of food baskets for low-income families is now prepared.

Families with children, especially those where both parents have lost their jobs have turned out the most vulnerable during the coronacrisis. They haven’t applied for a benefit. Now 640,000 residents of the republic can obtain one-time payments for children, over 530,000 of them have already received the money.

Now 640,000 residents of the republic can obtain one-time payments for children, over 530,000 of them have already received the money. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Republican supporting measures introduced since this January became good support for large and low-income families. A payout equalising the income per family member to the minimum wage (over 8,000 families have used it), 100% compensation for the kindergarten fee (over 7,000 people have used it) and handouts for medication at 10,000 rubles a year for families with children under 3 years (over 9,4000 people have used it) are among them.

“These targeted payouts were introduced in January, we didn’t know what would happen in spring, but they nailed it and supported precisely low-income families with children,” Zaripova noted.

By Eleonora Rylova
Tatarstan