CA, Jan 27 (Central Asia Newswire). The Russian government needs to crack down on illegal migrants who do not formally register or obtain work permits, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
Many of the 10 million migrants who head to Russia hail from Central Asia.
“We need to toughen sanctions against those people who hire without permits, basically as defenseless slaves,” the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported Putin as saying in the Russian capital Moscow.
Of the 10 million migrants working in Russia, only 4 million have the necessary paperwork, the president said.
Local anger is growing against migrants as the unemployment rate hovers around 7 percent. Putin is hoping to address this anger as he ratchets up his campaign for the March presidential elections.
Attacks against Central Asian migrants, who are mostly Muslim in faith, have multiplied as anger has risen, and several xenophobic organizations have sprouted up in Russia in recent years.
A significant portion of the working population in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan heads to Russia for work, and these countries’ economies are heavily reliant on remittances out of Russia.