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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Urges Stiffer Migrant Controls

MTMigrant construction workers going up a lift in the Federation Tower. Luzkhkov said migrants were deflating salaries.
Mayor Yury Luzhkov has demanded that rules governing foreign workers be toughened up in a strongly worded article published in government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta on Tuesday.

In the article, Luzhkov lashed out at changes to the government's immigration policy, describing new "ultraliberal" legislation as grossly misguided.

Since the start of the year, changes to legislation governing the status of immigrant laborers have removed the necessity for workers to register with the authorities.

"We are currently not only failing to regulate the inflow of migrants adequately but are placing a mine under the future of the entire country," said Luzhkov, who also heads the United Russia party list for Moscow.

Despite conceding that migrant labor is necessary for economic growth, Luzhkov blamed foreign workers for deflating wages and forcing out Russians. According to World Bank statistics cited by Luzhkov in the article, a 0.5 percent increase in the number of foreign workers in a country lowers average salaries by 1 percent.

Luzhkov suggested that some of the major hassles of life in Moscow, including congested roads and overcrowded metros, were caused partly by population growth fueled by the influx of immigrant workers. He also suggested that better regulation of arriving workers would in turn lead to better conditions for such workers.

In April, legislation came into effect banning many foreign workers from working on markets across the country.

Luzhkov's remarks come amid electioneering rhetoric directed against foreign workers in Russia. In a speech made to the Federation Council last week, President Putin said there should be fewer foreigners working in high-level positions at Russian companies.