Migrant workers “might provoke a crisis" - opposition leader

Migrant workers in Russia (RIA Novosti / Sergey Pyatakov)
Labor immigration to Russia should be banned from states where the birth rate is not restricted by law, the Liberal Democratic Party has stated.

­Russia should set a condition to other countries: if they want to send their workers, they must “restrict their birth rate,” Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), said on Thursday. He based his proposal on “international experience” in this area.

Russia’s migration policy should be considerably toughened, the Liberal Democrats believe. They seem to have made the interethnic and labor migration issues among the main topics of their electoral campaign for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

The number of migrant workers in Russia amounts to 4-6 million people, the LDPR has said. The main inflow comes from Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Toughening the state policy in this field may help solve many social and economic issues, and will improve the whole situation in the immigration area, the Russian opposition party states.

Otherwise, the inflow of migrants to Russia may drastically increase, which “might provoke a crisis.” The states that send their work force to Russia should follow the example of China, where parents pay a fine for having a second child, Zhirinovsky said.

In any case, migrant workers should be invited only to those regions where a work force is badly needed, the LDPR leader believes.

The authorities have already toughened rules concerning the labor force coming to Russia, with many measures having been against illegal immigrants as of late. Last night, two more camps of illegal immigrants were found in Moscow, and 147 people were detained.  

More than 11 thousand migrant workers were expelled from Russia during the first half of this year for violating migration rules. In 2010, a total of 30,000 people were expelled. According to the head of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky, there are about 10 million foreign citizens who have arrived in Russia to work, study, or travel as tourists.  

Earlier this year, the government has prepared a draft concept of the state migration policy. Secretary of the National Security Council Nikolay Patrushev said in April that the opinions of regional authorities will be taken into account as the national strategy in this area is being developed. He noted that the inflow of illegal migrants was reduced in 2010. A total of 230,000 such immigrants were found in Moscow and the regions.

At the same time, the authorities have been stepping up efforts to solve the problem of interethnic tensions, which is aggravated, among other things, by immigration to Russia. Russia may establish a governmental agency to supervise these issues, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with religious leaders on July 19.  

A multiethnic Russia cannot afford to have ethnic tensions, the premier stressed, speaking about both immigration and internal migration. All migrant workers should be protected by the law, Putin said. “We should teach our citizens to treat each other respectfully,” the premier noted. He added that those who move to a different territory “should also respect the language, traditions and culture of the people among whom they are going to live.”