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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Only 2 in 10 Foreigners Are Registered, City Police Say

There are more than 1 million foreigners living in Moscow, but less than 200,000 are registered or have work permits, a senior city police official said Wednesday.

"There are eight to 10 unregistered workers to every registered," deputy police chief Vladimir Popov said at a news conference.

He said only about 160,000 foreigners had work permits.

Still, the foreigners -- mainly from China and former Soviet republics -- are essential to Moscow and more should be made legal, Popov said.

He said the city administration and police were attempting to organize a jobs market with other former Soviet republics so as to ease registration and ensure that workers are legal.

Many of those nationals take low-paying jobs that Moscow residents shun, in areas such as construction and street work.

"Moscow can't survive without foreign workers," Popov said. "It is a very important question for the city."

The number of foreign workers with work permits rose from 47,602 in 2002 to an expected 160,000 this year.

China ranks first in the number of workers who received work permits this year, with somewhat less than 20,000 citizens, followed by Ukraine, Turkey, Moldova, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and Armenia.

No figures were immediately available for countries from the European Union or North America, but police said each had fewer citizens working in Moscow than does Armenia, which has 3,539.