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3 Jun, 2008 17:43

Russia urged to boost foreign work quotas

The quota system which limits the number of foreign workers in Russia has come under fire for hampering the economy and damaging growth. The Association of European Businesses in Russia wants a more efficient system.

The Association of European Businesses in Russia is leading the criticism and is calling on the Russian Government to create a more efficient system.

Currently, the number of permits available is restricted and the means of getting them is far from easy. A company must apply for their allocation for any given year before May 1 during the previous year. And although it's only the start of June, Russia's Migration Service has already issued its full quota of foreign work permits for the Moscow region for the year. The Migration Service quotas incorporate everyone from highly qualified professionals to unskilled workers.

According to the Association of European Businesses, the current situation has raised fears among several employers about losing people, time and profit. Its CEO, Frank Schauff, says: “Limiting the immigration of highly qualified workers might put a brake on Russia's economic growth at least in the mid-term”.

Others also believe the system is unworkable and say it should be changed. Timur Beslangurov, Managing Director of the Vista Support company, says: “This, by itself is nonsense, because it means any company entering the Russian market should know a year in advance how many foreign nationals they will bring here, of what nationalities and for what positions.”
The firm is one of many businesses, legal firms and chambers of commerce lobbying the government for change.