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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Draft Law Would Privatize Migration

Russia could set up private agencies to handle an increasing influx of migrant workers, Kommersant reported Thursday.

According to a draft law prepared by the Federal Migration Service, private agencies would be licensed to bring migrants to the country and find them work. The legislation would legalize over 1,200 existing agencies.

The reform would mainly affect large numbers of workers from poorer, former Soviet republics who often end up working illegally.

The service said it could not control all the migrants and that it hoped that the new legislation would cut down on the number of illegal workers and the intermediaries who find them work.

The agencies would monitor the labor market and thus reduce "the chaos from the influx of migrants to Russia," Sergei Boldyrev, a senior official in the migration service, told Interfax.

But experts warned that using private employment agencies would only exacerbate the problem of corruption. "Issuing licenses will push up the cost of legally hiring a foreign worker," Georgy Saratov, head of the Indem foundation, a Russian nongovernmental organization devoted to fighting corruption, told Kommersant.

A spokesman for the migration service said around 1.5 million work permits had been issued in the first half of 2007. Up to 15 million foreigners are believed to be working in the country illegally, Kommersant reported.