07:21 GMT +319 February 2019
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    MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Alexander Chekalin announced Friday that the bulk of Russia's illegal immigrants are arriving with the help of tour agencies.

    Mr. Chekalin recently returned from a business trip to the Far East where he familiarized himself with the work of the migration inspection. The deputy minister said he was interested in the processes of labor migration, and in particular the scope of "shadow" migration and its influence on the economy of the region.

    Mr. Chekalin noted that the migration inspection has not yet formed a comprehensive explanation. "It is necessary to inform people that it is in their best interest to legalize their status and that in the long run it is far more expensive to pay off criminal gangs and/or large bribes to corrupt bureaucrats," Mr. Chekalin remarked.

    Mr. Chekalin voiced his support for introducing criminal liability against organizations that facilitate illegal migration. "We are convinced that an amendment to the Criminal Code is necessary," Mr. Chekalin said. "We want to add an article stipulating punishment for the organization of illegal migration." According to the Interior Ministry's data, in 2003 employers were granted permission to hire roughly 25,000 foreign workers for every 400,000 citizens, a rate 4.5 times higher than in 2002.

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