On November 5, 2019, referring to the allegations of decline in emigration, former prime minister and economist Hrant Bagratyan claimed that emigration has actually doubled, and the positive balance of departures and arrivals was at the expense of Indians who came to Armenia.
“35,000 have left in nine months this year (Ed. the number of people who have left the country in the first nine months of 2019). In the first nine months of this year, 37,519 Indians arrived. I can add the 37 to this 35,000. Apart from the fact that the Armenians continue to leave, the rate does not decrease, a replacement is taking place. Armenians are being replaced by Indians” Bagratyan said.
In an interview, Bagratyan presented the number of arrivals and departures to Armenia in 2016, 2017, 2018, and compared them with the first nine months of 2019 (January to September).
“There is a difference between departures and arrivals, and there is that same number carrying Armenian identification documents. In 2016, that difference was -45 thousand, and in case of citizens with Armenian passports it was -54 thousand, in 2017 the number declined to -35 thousand, in 2018 we had +15 thousand departures-arrivals and -5 thousand with Armenian passports. And finally, in the last 9 months we had a difference of -35 thousand among those who departed and arrived with Armenian passports” Bagratyan claimed, insisting that the number of Indians who moved to Armenia in 2016-2018 was low, but the decline in emigration in 2019 was “at the expense” of 37,000 Indians who came to Armenia.
The Fact Investigation Platform looked at the figures presented by Hrant Bagratyan and found out whether the emigration has really doubled and whether the positive balance was “due to” the Indians who moved to Armenia.
So let’s look at the arrivals and departures in Armenia in 2016-2018. It should be noted that the figures presented by Hrant Bagratyan are mostly close to those published by the Statistical Committee.
The difference between the number of people arriving and leaving Armenia in 2016 was -48,170, and among Armenian citizens it was -54,031. In 2017 it was -26,897, RA citizens -36,191, in 2018, for the first time in recent years, the number of arrivals to Armenia exceeded departures by 15,317, but the difference between departures and arrivals with RA passports was again negative, namely, -4585.
However, Bagratyan’s comparison of 2016-2018 data with the first nine months of 2019 (-35,549) is incorrect. According to the statistics of demographic situation of Armenia published by the Statistical Committee on February 5, there was a positive difference in arrivals and departures for the whole of 2019. 10,506 more people entered Armenia. If we take only RA citizens, the difference between departures and arrivals with RA passports remains negative – 6,529.
These statistics is substantially different from the figure -35,000 presented by Bagratyan, which only applies to January-September. Such a large number in that period is primarily due to departures for seasonal work. It means Bagratyan did not present the complete picture.
There can also be no doubling of the rate of emigration, as the number of emigrants among the RA citizens has significantly decreased. In 2016 it was about -48 thousand, in 2017 it was -36 thousand, in 2018 it was already -4,500 and in 2019 it was -6,500.
Indians are not replacing Armenians
Hrant Bagratyan notes that in the first nine months of 2019, 37,519 Indians came to Armenia, due to which there is a positive balance in arrivals and departures.
But most Indians who have come to Armenia have already left.
According to statistics provided by the Migration Service, more Indian citizens left Armenia than arrived in the country in 2019. Thus, in 2019, 38,735 Indian citizens arrived in Armenia and 39,181 left the country. The difference is negative (-446). That is, 446 more Indians left Armenia than entered the country.
As for the positive balance of departures and arrivals, it is clear from the data of the Migration Service that the inflows of Russians, Georgians and Iranians largely outnumber the outflows, which has led to a decline in emigration.
Thus, we can state that Hrant Bagratyan’s claims that emigration to Armenia has doubled, and that the positive balance of departures and arrivals are at the expense of the Indians who have come to Armenia, do not correspond to the reality.