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Prosecutor-General And Ministry Of Public Health And Social Development Disagree On 2008 Quotas


The Office of the Prosecutor-General says that the, in 2008, "the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development (MinZdrav) repeatedly increased quotas for foreign labor." A representative of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development stated that the Ministry granted these quotas, but at that same time were prioritizing keeping Russian citizens employed. He promises that the Ministry will work out “matters of carrying out the legislation for developing procedures for attracting foreign labor” together with the Office of the Public Prosecutor.

The size of the quotas and their distribution among the regions is determined by a decree on the basis of a proposal from  MinZdrav. In 2007, MinZdrav based quotas on its own calculations, but beginning in 2008 quotas were determined on the basis of applications from employers. Last year quotas had to be increased from 1.8 million to 3.4 million and how those numbers were distributed among Russia's various regions had to be reconsidered. “In the middle of June the quotas were filled in 10-12 regions, and, for Russia as a whole, 72.3 percent was filled by July 31, says Oleg Artamonov, Federal Migration Service (FMS) adviser.

The procedures for increasing quotas is laid out in Government Decree № 737 dated October 3, 2008, which empowers the Procurator’s Office as well as the Ministry with a voice in the procedure for doing so.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office believes that proposals from some regions to increase quotas were “formally” considered “in a few cases.” However, the Prosecutor states that the FMS simply approved every request from its regional offices to boost quotas.

Prosecutor-General’s Office has issued an order demanding that MinZrav lower quotas because the situation is “creating conditions for international conflicts,” and claims that “the presence of foreign labor allows employers to establish unfavorable work conditions for Russian citizens.”

Yuri Gertsii, Head of the Federal Labor and Employment Service, does not agree. “Under the present conditions foreign labor is in no way interfering with Russian labor.” Because of the crisis the inflow of foreign labor is, overall, too low. According to FMS data, about 670,000 workers have arrived in Russia since the beginning of 2009, when the quota was set at almost 4 million.

Furthermore, according to Elena Turukanova, the Chief Research Officer at the Institute of Social and Economic Problems of Human Population, new arrivals are more often arriving legally; although there are at least 5 million foreign workers right now in Russia, there is not a large number of criminals among them.

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