Russia needs immigrants, but can it accept them?

They came on like a river pouring from two nearby metro stations, tens of thousands of mostly young, dark-skinned Muslim men, some bearded, some dressed in traditional Central Asian clothes, but most thin, haggard, clean-shaven, and wearing the tracksuits and cheap plastic jackets, with baseball caps or tuques, that make up the standard uniform of ... (more) Full Story
abc

United States

#1 Oct 27, 2013
Russia's population is shrinking, making immigrants critical to the country's well-being. But xenophobia highlighted by a Moscow race riot two weeks ago is on the rise.

Moscow's migrants might be spotted on any day toiling at the city's hundreds of construction sites, markets, warehouses, restaurants, and municipal services. But alone, or in small groups, they tend to be invisible to the Slavic Russian majority except for the Moscow police, who keep track of them and take advantage of their lack of documentation to extract bribes.

According to Konstantin Romodanovsky, head of the Federal Migration Service, there are about 1.8 million foreigners working legally in Russia, and at least 3 million who are working here illegally, mostly in centers like Moscow. Some experts estimate vastly higher numbers of illegal immigrants.

Though the Russian state has made few efforts to integrate the newcomers, protect their human rights, or prepare the local population for the unprecedented influx of outsiders, there's little doubt that they are needed here. The country's aging population, compounded by a collapse in birthrates during the 1990s, has put Russia into a demographic crisis that could strain its industry, agriculture, and armed forces. In the next decade, demographic experts expect Russia's native labor force to shrink by more than 12 million, or around 15 percent.

"The number of new workers coming into the labor force is about half the number who are leaving," says Boris Denisov, a demographer at Moscow State University.

"This was known long ago. It's absolutely not a surprise.... To cope with this demographic squeeze, the Russian government definitely relies on migrant labor to fill the gap, and not on advances in technology or rising labor productivity, such as the strategy being pursued in other demographically hit places like Japan," he adds.

There is little competition for the jobs migrants take. Overwhelmingly, it's work the local Russians don't want, although that might change now that Russia's economic growth is slowing down and, some economists say, headed for stagnation.

Part of the problem, experts say, is that migrant labor is big business for Russian oligarchs and state companies, and is the source of lucrative bribes and kickbacks to officials and police who enable the flow of migrants into Moscow and protect the businesses who exploit them.

"We have legislation to cover this, and there are a certain number of legally registered temporary workers in Russia," says Yevgeny Gontmakher, deputy director of the official Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow.

"But despite that, the overwhelming majority of these come illegally, because it's in the interests of employers to keep them helpless and dependent, and it's very much to the profit of officialdom and police to keep things this way. It's all fueled by corruption."

Mr. Gontmakher, the economist, says that mass migration into Russia from its mainly Muslim neighbors is a fact that's here to stay, but that the current authorities seem incapable of framing sensible immigration policies or implementing programs that might reduce social tensions and help migrant workers integrate into the Russian community.

"Maybe if we had a new political situation here, these problems could be addressed," he says. "But under our present regime, where so many officials have a finger in the cash flow from illegal labor, we can already see that nothing is going to change. That means we should brace ourselves for more social outbursts, because they will be coming."

Level 2

Since: Nov 09

Location hidden

#2 Oct 27, 2013
Take care about Hispanics which are taking over USA moron.
abc

Toronto, Canada

#3 Oct 27, 2013
Who says I'm from US moron?

Level 2

Since: Nov 09

Location hidden

#4 Oct 27, 2013
I don`t care where you are from.
Just get the fckng out cretin.
abc

United States

#5 Oct 27, 2013
Ruskis don't like immigrants yet they emigrate to the west in large numbers. Ruski mentality is no better than Arab mentality.

Level 2

Since: Nov 09

Location hidden

#7 Oct 28, 2013
abc wrote:
Ruskis don't like immigrants yet they emigrate to the west in large numbers. Ruski mentality is no better than Arab mentality.
Russians don`t make riots in the west and don`t say the west should turn into islamic republic. moron.
spud

Reading, PA

#8 Oct 28, 2013
This story is the same beat garbage we are fed in the US. I'm sure Russia doesn't need them any more than we need them here and we don't need any right now. Big business and big religion are the biggest supporters of illegal aliens because they both have something to gain from this invasion. If Russia was smart they would get this problem under control before it gets too big like it has over here.
Cas

Live Oak, CA

#9 Oct 28, 2013
Why not just take in more asian immigrants in the muslim and hispanics are a problem or even the europeans of which the Russians originate from, like the polish or norwegian. If there has to be any new comers to the land at all it should be someone thats not a nuisance for there resources.
Cas

Live Oak, CA

#10 Oct 28, 2013
spud wrote:
This story is the same beat garbage we are fed in the US. I'm sure Russia doesn't need them any more than we need them here and we don't need any right now. Big business and big religion are the biggest supporters of illegal aliens because they both have something to gain from this invasion. If Russia was smart they would get this problem under control before it gets too big like it has over here.
Not all foreigners are bad for the growth of a country as a Hole but yeah religion and big Business does screw over a lot of the native population.

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