Russia cannot do without migrants, says government

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Moscow, Apr 9: Demographic problems may force Russia to open the door to migrants wider, though until recently it had been only slightly ajar, as without an inflow of migrants the Russian population may reduce by several million by 2030.

The situation is aggravated by the steady aging of able-bodied citizens. Almost one-fifth of the country's residents will be over 65 years old by 2030.

Therefore, the government has proposed abolishing quotas on foreign workers and making their employment as easy as possible.

The governmental commission headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov recently reviewed a draft concept of a migration policy.

As follows from this document, developed by the Federal Migration Service (FMS), "the population of working age will decrease over the period of 2011-2025 by 10.4 million people."

To compensate for this natural loss "the scale of accommodating permanent migrants during this period should be expanded to an average of 425,000 a year."

Since 1992 migration brought to Russia more than 7.4 million new residents, while the natural population decline in this period was not 13 million, as it should have happened, but half of the amount.

However, ensuring the necessary increase will be possible only by eliminating the immigration quotas.

"We need to change the immigration policy in relation to those who work at our construction sites, to those who do the work that Russians do not perform," Shuvalov said.

However, as is recognised by experts, the proposed abolishing of quotas is unlikely to draw a positive response from society. The idea has obvious opponents, who fear that migrant workers will flood the country and take away jobs that belong to Russians.

PTI (Itar-Tass)

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