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Over 1.6 million migrant laborers expected to come to Russia in 2014

November 06, 2013, 10:43 UTC+3

Currently only 14% of Russians do not object to the influx of migrant workers

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The Russian government has taken the decision to attract more than 1.6 million foreign workers in 2014. By its another decision the government preserved the minimum and maximum amounts of the unemployment benefit - 850 and 4,900 roubles, respectively. “Is it worth it to attract so many foreigners, ill-treating our own unemployed?” the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper asks.

Meanwhile, currently only 14% of Russians do not object to the influx of migrant workers into the country, but the majority - 78% - on the contrary, advise the government to restrict the influx of visitors, using a variety of administrative barriers, sociologists of the Levada Centre independent sociological research organisation reported on Tuesday on the results of a nationwide survey. According to them, over the last five years, the number of those who want the influx of migrants to be restricted has increased by 26% (in 2008 a total of 52% supported the restrictions). At the same time, the share of Russians who believe that such barriers should not be created for the benefit of the country has decreased from 35% to 14%.

The opinions of experts, interviewed by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, divided on that matter. According to analyst of the Alpari company Anna Kokoreva, for such a large country as Russia, the declared number of foreign workers for the next year is within the permissible limits, but only skilled workers should be invited, if they are needed.

Recruitment specialist of the Unity staffing agency Yuri Kondratyev believes that the figure of 1.6 million migrant workers seems too big - it’s more than 1% of the population of the Russian Federation: “here we have legal foreign workforce, but I’m afraid even to imagine how many illegal workers from other countries will be engaged.”

As for unemployment benefits, Kondratyev believes that Russia first of all has a shortage of qualified personnel, and the main category of the unemployed are low-skilled personnel. Therefore, a modest size of unemployment benefit is justified.

“At the moment, the state cannot offer more,” Anna Kokoreva believes. “The country’s economy is in dire straits, all government efforts are aimed at the resumption of GDP growth and curbing inflation. The federal budget solves the deficit problem through foreign borrowings. So, until the country’s economy demonstrates strong recovery, social benefits cannot be raised.”

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