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Moscow would be world’s safest city without illegal immigration - mayor

Moscow would be world’s safest city without illegal immigration - mayor
To become the safest city in the world Moscow needs to solve the illegal alien problem, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said as he presented the latest “patent” system for the registration of migrant workers.

Law enforcers in the city had managed to bring the number of crimes committed by immigrants down by about 15 percent, but the situation remains complicated, Mayor Sobyanin said as he delivered a report to the Moscow City Legislature on Wednesday.

He said the key to the problem could be a new registration system for foreign workers which introduce changes to the existing “patent” procedure.

Sobyanin said that currently it was not realistic to stop using a workforce from abroad and remote Russian regions. “We have no unemployment; on the contrary there are about two million vacant workplaces. We cannot fill them without attracting labor resources from outside, be it Russia or other countries.”

The mayor emphasized that the root of the problem was the lower wages required by migrant workers. He also said the previous system of government quotas for foreign labor had proved to be absolutely ineffective and corrupt.

An officer of the Federal Migration Service, left, holds documents of foreign workers during a raid conducted by the Federal Migration Service to identify illegal migrants (RIA Novosti/Maksim Blinov)

The new system would allow businessmen and state enterprises to hire more foreigners, but the patent payments would gradually increase so that in time the overall price of hiring a migrant would be the same as that of a Russian worker.

Russia has the second highest number of resident migrants, according to a UN study released in September 2013. The total number of migrants in Russia is estimated at about 2 million and Russian law enforcers claim that about half of them live and work in the capital.

Mayor Sobyanin said at the Wednesday conference that in 2014 law enforcers had deported over 100,000 illegal migrants from Moscow alone.

Earlier this week Moscow police reported on the Migrant-2014 operation that is taking place in the city between October 23 and November 2. Law enforcers claimed that they detained about 7000 people in just one day – on October 24 and launched 20 criminal cases and over 500 administrative protocols into various migration-related violations.