Putin: retail sector can get by without migrant workers
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for defining the economic sectors that should not be allowed to hire foreign migrant workers.
"Whatever my thoughts on the matter, my request for the government and the State Duma to work on this, there needs to be a settlement concerning certain types of economic activity by migrants," Putin said at a meeting with the heads of grassroots organizations in the United Russia party.
"From the standpoint of the nation's economic interests, it really is difficult to get by without outside labor in certain sectors. But in other areas they can be entirely replaced with locals, say, in retail," Putin said.
"Is it really so difficult to find local citizens who would work at retail locations? Hardly," he said.
Putin conceded that construction projects and some other sectors need migrant labor.
"But this needs to be sorted out. In all countries, migrant laborers are brought in to solve economic problems. The appropriate government bodies together with Duma deputies must think long and hard on this," he said.
Foreign migrants ought to know and comply with the laws and customs of the region where they have come to work, Putin said.
"Those who don't should face all measures provided for in law. This must be consistent, patient work," he said.
Putin promised to see to stiffer penalties for violations of migration legislation, particularly against those operating so-called rubber apartments, which are used to register a huge number of migrant workers.
"We will strengthen the legislation, right up to criminal liability. In order to resolve the issue comprehensively, work must be conducted in those countries that the migrants come from," he said.
"There must be a fight against corruption. Executive bodies, law enforcement bodies need to do their jobs and not live off ill-gotten gains from open-air markets and other retail locations," Putin said.