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19 Jan, 2007 05:00

New immigration law forces Chinese traders to flee Russia

New immigration law forces Chinese traders to flee Russia

Chinese traders are deserting Russia's Far East, after a new law introduced on January 15 required that all immigrants obtain official registration. About 9,000 people have applied for registration so far.

The new law is aimed at changing regulations and providing more jobs for locals. But the new migration law has already had a dramatic impact on the country’s Far East.

In the city of Khabarovsk, just 30 kilometres far from the Chinese border nearly all stalls at the markets previously dominated by Chinese traders were closed the day after the new legislation came into affect.

Many of the traders, who stayed, have already packed their goods and prepared to leave. Others have handed over their stalls to Russian partners.

“Everyday I have elderly women coming up to me, and asking me: 'Why have you kicked out the Chinese?', and I say to them that we didn't kick out the Chinese, and that they should ask the government why they have introduced such a law,” says Gusein Khusseinov director of the market:

With the departure of the Chinese, locals in Khabarovsk expect prices to soar for goods that previously would have been affordable.

It’s not yet clear, what effect the new migration law will have on Russian markets in future, but some believe more measures are needed to attract locals to continue in the industry.