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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Targets Foreigners

Moscow City Hall plans to cut drastically the number of work permits issued to foreigners in the capital, despite a warning from federal authorities that the city would suffer without their labor.

Moscow's draft migration program for the next two years calls for the number of work permits to be slashed from the current 810,000 per year to 500,000. Most of the permits go to workers from other former Soviet republics.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov backed the program at a city administration meeting Wednesday, noting that only 300,000 people had applied for and received work permits in the first five months of this year. He said that only 100,000 of those applicants were actually working, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported Thursday.

City authorities intend to submit legislation to the State Duma to facilitate the two-year program. The city wants to criminalize "the illegal import of foreign citizens" and require migrants to declare their arrivals and departures from Russia "in real time," rather than via a mailed letter to the Federal Migration Service, Kommersant reported. Another bill would amend the Administrative Code to fine landlords who "grant dwelling to illegal migrants." The city also plans to set up a database on foreign workers that would allow police to run more frequent checks on the locations where foreigners work and live.

A total of 1.26 million foreigners were registered in Moscow last year. Estimates for the number not registered range from 700,000 to 2 million.