Russian authorities will work to curb excessive migration to the country’s sparsely populated Far Eastern regions, as well as the emergence of immigrant enclaves nationwide, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
“The task remains of protecting our Far Eastern territories from excessive expansion from neighboring states,” Medvedev said at a governmental meeting in Moscow.
He did not specify the countries, but Russia has an extensive border with China. Chinese migration to Russia, including illegal migrants, is estimated by most independent experts at between 300,000 and 1 million people.
“The Far East is indeed far, and, regretfully, not too many people live there,” Medvedev said.
Russia’s Siberian and Far Eastern federal districts have a combined population of some 25 million people. Chinese provinces on the Russian border have a population of about 110 million.
“It’s important to prevent all kinds of negative events, including the emergence of enclaves populated by foreign citizens,” Medvedev also said.
There are more than 10 million foreigners in Russia, 17 percent of them legal migrants and an estimated 21 percent illegal workers, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said at the meeting.
The service drafted bills tightening punishment for organizing illegal migration, which already carries prison terms of up to five years, Romodanovsky said.
Russia will radically reform its migration legislation, focusing on attracting qualified specialists, as well as scientists, entrepreneurs and teachers, Medvedev said. He specified no timeframe for the reform.
President Vladimir Putin signed in June a new concept outline of the country’s migration policy through 2025, which focuses on attracting temporary migrant workers without integrating them into the Russian society.