Russia's government will cut its quotas of migrant workers to 1.3 million in 2010 from some 2 million this year, the head of Russia's association of trade unions said on Thursday.
Mikhail Shmakov, the head of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, said after a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the number of guest workers would not be halved as trade unions had expected.
Shmakov said this year's quota should be recovered as soon as the economic situation in Russia improves and labor demand increases.
"We insist that regional [labor] programs focus on the employment of people who lost their job."
Vladimir Putin said at the meeting that Russia "should have a look at 2010 quotas of migrant workers once again" and probably "cut them further."
The Russian government had earlier approved 1,944,356 work permits to be given to foreign citizens in 2010.
However, Russia's deputy health minister, Maxim Topilin, said Russia would need only 1.3 million migrant workers next year.
The ministry's strategy stipulates the expansion of the new quota by 30% if labor demand increases.
A 2009 quota originally put at 3.9 million work permits was then cut almost in half due to the economic recession which caused a job deficit in the country.
Millions of migrant workers from former Central Asian Soviet republics work in Russia, many of them in the capital, Moscow. Experts say the number of illegal migrants in the country exceeds 10 million.
Migration services estimate that some 4 million migrant workers were employed by individual Russians as drivers, housekeepers and au pairs in 2008.
NOVO-OGARYOVO, December 24 (RIA Novosti)