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Russian Government Suggests Criminal Sentences for Facilitators of Illegal Immigration
January 30, 2012 13:49

illegal-immigrants-in-russia
One of the typical - and likely - illegal immigrants in Russia

In the recent years large Russian cities have become overly populated by the so-called illegal immigrants. These are usually people from the CIS countries who often come to Russia to work on building sites, in small shops, or as cleaners.

In a way, Russia is living through what Britain, France, and Germany have already experienced with the immigrants from India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Africa. The attitude of "indigenous", i.e. "white" Russians, or Slavs, is hardly different from their European counterparts. The dark-skinned folk from the Russian Caucasus who flocked to the central Russian cities in 1990s is now joined by multitudes of Mongoloid people from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyz Republic. Understandably, the native Russians feel threatened.

Like those Indians and Turks who made way into Europe, these "aliens" come to Russia for better opportunities. Arguably, though, Russia does not provide half of the benefits these immigrants usually receive in Europe. A typical immigrant is living in Russia without a legal settlement permit. Not only that, he or she also works illegally, which sadly suits many a small to medium business, especially in the big cities. There is no need to officially contract them, to pay taxes for them, while the salary they receive is several times less than it should be for a Russian citizen. For instance, a Russian taken to work as a yard cleaner should be paid around 30K RUB (750EUR). An illegal immigrant is paid around 5K (150EUR), which is 6 times less. The "difference" in 25K most likely rests in a business's pockets.

The living conditions of illegal immigrants leave too much to be desired. A typical yard cleaner is not given any communal flat; those who crave comfort cosy up in a small compartment adjacent to a staircase and the garbage collector on the ground floor of an apartment block. Workers who attend to building sites often crowd in a so-called "rubber flat" with as little as 25 other immigrants.

Now the most curious part is that these folks tend to get by on very little money, as most of it is sent to the families they'd left behind in their native countries. And the rumour has it that 150EUR, which is ridiculously little for Moscow, goes a very long way there.

The situation is aggravated by the demands of native Russians to better control the influx of illegal immigrants. Concerns range from hoorah-patriotic ("They dilute the Russian race!") to more down-to-earth, pointing at the anti-hygienic conditions at the "rubber flats" and possible safety and security risks.

As the presidential race gradually speeds up, the Government has turned its eye on this problem. In summary, these are suggestions that may help to regulate the influx of illegal immigrants:

  •     criminal sentence for those who illegally contract the migrants for work;
  •     criminal sentence for those who own and rent out "rubber flats";
  •     a 5 to 10 years ban for "serial offenders", i.e. immigrants who continue coming to Russia illegally, despite being officially prohibited from doing so;
  •     restrictions for Russian domestic migration, to alleviate a heavy burden on the infrastructure of large cities.

Although sensible and necessary, these measures are seen as no more than an attempt to appease the part of electorate who have recently been disappointed with the migration policies in Russia. Non-Slavic faces are often described as a turn-off for tourists, and even Russians are no longer ecstatic about their vast big country inhabited by multitudes of nationalities. The latter point concerning restrictions for migration between the cities is regarded by some experts as a nod to the Soviet system of working in the place of registration.

What needs to be remembered, is that migrants come to Moscow or St. Petersburg not merely because of better pay, but because of wider work opportunities. The non-existence of such opportunities in the place where the person lives is the primary reason why they move. To control this, the Government would primarily need to help the regional powers to create such opportunities. Unfortunately, at present it seems to be cheaper to restrict the migration.
Julie Delvaux
Source: RBC.ru. Image courtesy: Uzhgorod.in.


Author: Julia Shuvalova

Tags: Russian politics Russian society illegal immigration   

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