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MOSCOW, May 22 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow, as the most attractive city in Russia for foreigners, is experiencing an increasing pressure from migrants, head of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky said at a meeting of senior FMS officials on Wednesday.
"Moscow is one of the most attractive cities for foreigners. It is experiencing an increased pressure from migrants. People from 228 countries are staying here," Romodanovsky said, adding that 500,000 migrants have been registered since the beginning of this year. Of those, 340,000 have legal jobs.
There is a negative side to the migration situation: the number of administrative offenses and crimes is not decreasing; foreigners continue to live by their own rules, violating local laws, which causes justified resentment of Muscovites and leads to xenophobia.
"This year, Moscow barred entry to 73,000 foreigners. But it's obviously not sufficient," Romodanovsky said.
He ordered to work out proposals to tighten control over migration flows at railway stations, enlarge the existing center for migrants, and set up a new one.
FMS personnel are also to come up with proposals about the possibility to provide medical assistance to migrants.
Beginning from January 1, 2015, citizens from former Soviet republics will be able to enter Russia on foreign travel passports. "Hopefully, our partners will understand us," the FMS director said.
He said he was opposed to visa regime with former Soviet republics and called for considering entry to Russia on invitations.
"As for visa regime; we don't need it at present. The option to enter Russia on invitations could be considered with the countries that supply the largest flows of migrants, but it needs extra work. It is not an easy issue," he noted.
He underlined that as for visa relations, "it is a question of compliance with our laws and rules, not a question of entry."
Meanwhile, deputy Moscow police chief Oleg Baranov reported a 70-percent increase in serious crimes committed by migrants.
"Over the past four months, the rate of crimes committed by migrants has increased by 42 percent and the rate of serious and very serious crimes has increased by 72 percent," Baranov said.
Migrants account for every fifth crime in Moscow, he noted.