MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - The number of labor migrants being housed in a tent encampment in Moscow ahead of their deportation from Russia for violating migration rules stands at 612, police said late Sunday.
The quantity of people living in tents has slowly risen in recent days after Moscow police conducted a series of large raids last week aimed at identifying and detaining illegal migrants.
About 1,400 foreigners, most of them Vietnamese nationals, were detained earlier this week during raids on local markets, and the tent encampment was set up for them in Moscow’s eastern Golyanovo district because the city did not have enough places to keep them.
A total of 2,400 people were detained by Moscow police last week in raids targeted at illegal migrants, Russian news website gazeta.ru reported Saturday.
The number of people in the camp, which consists of some 200 green tents capable of hosting up to 900 people, stood at 500 on Saturday evening, police said.
Most of the detained migrant laborers reportedly lived and worked illegally, according to police. All the migrants, reportedly including eight suspected bosses from Iraq, Syria, Vietnam and Azerbaijan, have been detained on suspicion of immigration offenses.
Revenues from oil exports, and a dwindling labor force, have made Russia a magnet for millions of labor migrants, mostly from ex-Soviet Central Asia. Some 11.3 million foreigners entered Russia this year, and some 3 million of them work here illegally, Federal Migration Service chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said in late July.
Labor migration has triggered xenophobia and hate attacks and has become a focal point in the run-up to Moscow’s mayoral election set for September 8.
Updated with new police figures, and re-cast throughout