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Russia – Lawmakers seek to tighten migrant worker legislation

19 February 2014

Russian lawmakers are set to consider legislation obligating foreign migrants to state their intention to work upon entry into the country or face being denied a labour permit at a later date, reports indrus.in.

A note attached to the draft bill, which was submitted to the lower house of parliament by ruling United Russia party deputies, explains that the law will provide motivation for denying work permits to foreign nationals.

Irina Yarovaya, who heads the Parliament’s security and anti-corruption committee, said the proposed measures would prevent the need for regular sweeps to detect unauthorised migrants already in the country: “We should not have to chase after illegal immigrants to round them up and deport them.”

The overwhelming majority of foreign migrants traveling to Russia for work come from former Soviet states, predominantly Central Asia. Most ex-Soviet republics enjoy visa-free regimes with Russia, making it relatively straightforward for their citizens to enter the country.

While salaries for such migrants tend to be low, the money earned has major significance for the economies into which the remittances are paid. Remittances, for example, are estimated to account for about 50% of the gross domestic product of poverty-stricken Tajikistan.

Authorities have sought to tighten migration rules, however, amid discontent fuelled by widespread perceptions that Russian citizens are being priced out of the labour market. Recent months have seen a wave of snap inspections on marketplaces in Moscow aimed at identifying migrants without the correct paperwork.

A United Nations study published last year ranked Russia as the world’s second-largest host of foreign migrants, with more than 11 million. The Federal Migration Service has estimated the number of illegal migrants at 3 million.


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