Russia has the world’s largest number of illegal migrants, accounting for almost seven percent of the country’s working population, according to the 2012 International Migration Outlook issued on Thursday by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
According to the global body’s report, 960,000 temporary labor migrants came to Russia in 2010, more than twice as many as those entering the United States.
The share of the legal migrant workers residing in Russia stands at 2.5 percent of the country’s estimated working population of 75 million people, while illegal migrants make up for seven percent. The United States has an illegal migrant population estimated at 3.5 percent of the workforce, the OECD’s report said.
In 2010, former-Soviet states remained the main migration sources for Russia with 28,000 people arriving from Kazakhstan, 27,500 from Ukraine and 24,000 Uzbek nationals arriving in Russia, according to the Migration Outlook.
Russia’s dependence on unskilled labor will only grow over the next eight years, with the working-age population forecast to decrease by seven million people by 2020, the report said.
In early January Russian President and then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed an array of robust measures, including stiff laws, to deal with illegal migration. He called for the expulsion and banning of migration law-breakers for five to ten years or longer from re-entering Russia. He also proposed legal proceedings against the owners of "rubber homes" where migrants register illegally, and criminal proceedings for those who take on illegal migrants at work and organize illegal-housing.
Putin also proposed making exams in Russian, history and the basics of Russian law mandatory for migrants from 2013, which should, in his opinion, help them to adapt to Russian society.