Kutafin Law Review

Advanced search

Regional Free Movement of People at the Global Level: The Case of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAU)

Full Text:


The paper research is on free movement of people at the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). It introduces the main components of the EAEU’s free mobility regime, its promises and challenges. The author argues that the free movement of people regimes are not similar and respond to different needs and origins. Trying to answer, if free movement of people in the EAEU Treaty is the EU Model, the author discovers that in fact, the EAEU’s scheme finds its roots in regional treaties signed and developed in the post-Soviet space in the 1990s. The paper has a discussion on the challenges of implementation and interpretation and situates them within a larger global panorama of regional free mobility schemes beyond the EU. Conclusions are made with some thoughts and suggestions for future research, also in light of the general closure of borders during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper offers different insights on the free movement of workers at EAEU level. It has identified how the EU cannot really be considered as a model on several key aspects, notably the absence of the principle of non-discrimination enshrined in the Treaty and the lack of a secure residence status beyond the conclusion of an employment agreement. Researchers will need to continue to measure and investigate its implementation and the effects the free movement regime has in the inclusion of EAEU workers. More research will also be needed in light of the closure of borders during the pandemic and the effects that might have in the near future on the EAEU’s free movement regime.

About the Author

D. Acosta
University of Bristol
United Kingdom

Diego Acosta, Professor in European and Migration Law

Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ


1. Acosta, A.D. and Martire, J., (2014). Trapped in the Lobby: Europe’s Revolving Doors and the Other as Xenos. Diego Acosta Arcarazo and Jacopo Martire. Trapped in the lobby: Europe’s revolving doors and the Other as Xenos, 39, pp. 362–379.

2. Acosta, A.D., (2019). The Expansion of Regional Free Movement Regimes. Towards a Borderless World? In: P. Minderhoud, S. Mantu, K. Zwaan (Eds.). Caught In Between Borders: Citizens, Migrants and Humans. Liber Amicorum in Honour of Prof. Dr. Elspeth Guild. Wolf Legal Publishers, pp. 9–15.

3. Acosta, D., (2018). The National Versus the Foreigner in South America: 200 Years of Migration and Citizenship Law. Cambridge University Press.

4. Ama, F., (2019). Free Movement & Disaster Displacement: A Caribbean Case Study. Sabin Center.

5. Brownbridge, M. and Canagarajah, S., (2020). Migration and Remittances in the Former Soviet Union Countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus: What Are the Long-Term Macroeconomic Consequences? The World Bank.

6. Carrera, S. and Atger, A.F., (2010). L’Affaire des Roms: A Challenge to the EU’s area of freedom, security and justice. CEPS Liberty and Security in Europe, September 2010.

7. Chetail, V., (2019). International Migration Law. Oxford University Press, pp. 97–118.

8. Dauvergne, C., (2016). The new politics of immigration and the end of settler societies. Cambridge University Press, p. 7,

9. Evaluación del Acuerdo de Residencia del MERCOSUR y su incidencia en el acceso a derechos de los migrante, (2018). International Organization for Migration, Buenos Aires (In Span.).

10. Evans, M., (2015). Challenging Conventional Assumptions: The Case for a Preventive Approach to the Protection of the Freedom of Religion or Belief. In: The Changing Nature of Religous Rights under International Law. Oxford University Press, pp. 25–50.

11. Geddes, A., Espinoza, M.V., Hadj Abdou, L., Brumat, L. eds., (2019). The dynamics of regional migration governance. Edward Elgar Publishing.

12. Golam, M. and Monowar, M., (2018). Eurasian Economic Union: Evolution, Challenges and Possible Future Directions. Journal of Eurasian Studies, 9 (2), pp. 163–172,

13. Groenendijk, K., (2009). Forty Years of Free Movement of Workers: Has it Been a Success and Why? In: P. Minderhoud and N. Trimikliniotis, eds., (2009). Rethinking the Free Movement of Workers: The European Challenges Ahead. Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers. ISBN: 9789058504647. Pp. 11–24.

14. Guild, E., (2009). Free Movement of Workers: From Third Country Nationals to Citizen of the Union. In: P. Minderhoud and N. Trimikliniotis, eds., (2009). Rethinking the Free Movement of Workers: The European Challenges Ahead. Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers. ISBN: 9789058504647. Pp. 25–38.

15. Hollifield, J.F., Martin, P.L., and Orrenius, P.M., (2020). The dilemmas of immigration control. In: Controlling Immigration. Stanford University Press, pp. 3–34.

16. Kalinichenko, P., Petrov, R., and Karliuk, M., (2019). International law in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus: Modern integration projects. Russian Law Journal, 7, pp. 107–133.

17. Karliuk, M., (2017). Russian legal order and the legal order of the Eurasian Economic Union: an uneasy relationship. Russian Law Journal, 5(2).

18. Karliuk, M., (2019). The Disintegration of the Judiciary Within Eurasian Integration. Review of Central and East European Law, 44(3), pp. 406–435.

19. Kochenov, D., (2017). On Tiles and Pillars: EU Citizenship as a Federal Denominator. EU Citizenship and Federalism: The Role of Rights. Cambridge University Press, pp. 3–82.

20. Koutrakos, P., (2016). Public security exceptions and EU free movement law, pp. 190–217.

21. Kubal, A., (2019). Immigration and Refugee Law in Russia. Cambridge University Press.

22. Leonov, A. and Korneev, O., (2019). Regional migration governance in the Eurasian migration system. In: The Dynamics of Regional Migration Governance. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 205–223.

23. Lyutov, N. and Golovina, S., (2018). Development of labor law in the EU and EAEU: How comparable? Russian Law Journal, 6(2), pp. 93–117.

24. Maas, W., (2007). Creating European Citizens. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

25. Madiyev, O., (2021). The Eurasian Economic Union: Repaving Central Asia’s Road to Russia? Migration Policy Institute, Feature, 2 February 2021. Available at: [Accessed 14.05.2021].

26. Molodikova, I., (2017). Two decades of CIS coexistence: the transformation of the visa-free movement. Migration, Free Movement and Regional Integration. Paris/Bruges: UNESCO — UNU-CRIS, pp. 313–344.

27. Motomura, H., (2014). Immigration outside the law. Oxford University Press.

28. Nita, S., Gartland, J., Neyts, K., De Lombaerde, P., and Pécoud, A., (2017). Migration, free movement and regional integration: concluding remarks. Migration, Free Movement and Regional Integration. Paris/ Bruges: UNESCO — UNU-CRIS.

29. Okunade, S.K. and Ogunnubi, O., (2019). The African Union Protocol on Free Movement: A panacea to end border porosity? Journal of African Union Studies, 8(1), pp. 73–91.

30. Parker, O., (2012). Roma and the politics of EU citizenship in France: Everyday security and resistance. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 50(3), pp. 475–491.

31. Pécoud, A., de Guchteneire, P., Guchteneire, P.F., eds., (2007). Migration without borders: Essays on the free movement of people. Berghahn Books.

32. Petrov, R. and Kalinichenko, P., (2016). On Similarities and Differences of the European Union and Eurasian Economic Union Legal Orders: Is There the ‘Eurasian Economic Union Acquis’? Legal Issues of Economic Integration, 43(3), pp. 295–307.

33. Pirker, B. and Entin, K., (2019). Bosman’s Second Life? The Eurasian Economic Union Court and the Free Movement of Professional Athletes. Legal Issues of Economic Integration, 46(2), pp. 129–148.

34. Pirker, B. and Entin, K., (2020). The Free Movement of Persons in the Eurasian Economic Union — between Civis Eurasiaticus and Homo Oeconomicus. In: European Citizenship under Stress. Brill Nijhoff, pp. 508–532.

35. Ramírez, J., Linares, Y., and Useche, E., (2019). Geo Políticas Migratorias, Inserción laboral y Xenofobia: Migrantes Venezolanos en Ecuador. En Cécile Blouin, Después de la Llegada. Realidades de la migración venezolana. Lima (Perú): Themis-PUCP (In Span.).

36. Ratha, D., Plaza, S., and Ozden, C., (2016). Migration and development: A role for the World Bank Group. World Bank Group. Retrieved May, 25, p. 2020.

37. Sagynbekova, L., (2017). International labour migration in the context of the Eurasian Economic Union: issues and challenges of Kyrgyz migrants in Russia. University of Central Asia, Institute of Public Policy and Administration, Working Paper, 39.

38. Schenk, C., (2015). Labor Migration in the Eurasian Union: Will Freedom of Movement Trump Domestic Controls? PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No 378, George Washington University, Washington, DC, 2015. Available at: [Accessed 12.11.2020].

39. Schenk, C., (2018). Why control immigration? Strategic uses of migration Management in Russia. University of Toronto Press, pp. 73–97.

40. Thym, D., (2016). The Constitutional Dimension of Public Policy Justifications.

41. Tsourapas, G., (2018). The politics of migration in modern Egypt: Strategies for regime survival in autocracies. Cambridge University Press.

42. United Nations, Population Division, (2019). International migrant stock. Available at: [Accessed 14.05.2021].

43. Wardle, H. and Obermuller, L., (2018). The windrush generation. Anthropology today, 34(4), pp. 3–4.


For citation:

Acosta D. Regional Free Movement of People at the Global Level: The Case of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAU). Kutafin Law Review. 2021;8(4):602-625.

Views: 41

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ISSN 2713-0525 (Print)
ISSN 2713-0533 (Online)