MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - About one million foreigners are officially registered with the migration authorities in Moscow, with another 1.5 million in the surrounding areas as of Tuesday, a senior migration official said.
“We have a centralized database of foreign nationals. Today we have obtained the most recent figures: there are about a million foreign nationals in Moscow and 1.5 million - in the Moscow Region,” deputy head of Russia’s Federal Migration Service (FMS) Yelena Radochina told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.
An estimated 3.65 million foreigners are living illegally in Russia, she said.
Radochina also said about 93,000 Moscow work permits were issued to foreigners between January and July. The number of officially registered migrant workers in Moscow stands at about 200,000, most of them are citizens of former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Tajikistan.
About 20,000 foreigners were expelled from Russia in the first seven months of 2013.
The head of the FMS Moscow Region Department, Oleg Molodiyevsky, said about 240,000 labor migrants are registered in the Moscow Region.
The recent crackdown on immigrants in Russia began after a fracas at a Moscow market in late July, when a policeman was seriously injured in an attack by a worker while trying to detain a suspected sex offender. Russia’s markets are often staffed by immigrants from neighboring Central Asian countries.
The Russian economy is heavily dependent on immigrant labor, particularly from Central Asia, but there is widespread opposition within society to increased levels of immigration.