SAKHAROVO, Russia (AP) — Moscow’s migration center works 24 hours a day, seven days a week to process work-permit applications from the flood of people from other former Soviet states who travel to the Russian capital in search of work.
From 4,000 to 6,000 migrants come through the center every day, where they spend long hours waiting in line to register, undergo medical checks and be tested on their knowledge of Russian language and history.
Most are from Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine or Uzbekistan, the countries whose citizens make up the bulk of Moscow’s foreign work force of about 1 million. Another 1 million work in the adjoining region. Most of the migrants work in construction, on municipal crews, as drivers or do other manual labor in Moscow, whose population tops 12 million.
Some migrants complain that it takes up to three days to get all of the paperwork completed, requiring repeated trips to the center in Sakharovo, a village about 60 kilometers (35 miles) south of the city.
Andrei Krasnov, first deputy general director of the migration center, acknowledges the problem and says the situation should improve when construction of a new, larger facility is completed this summer.
Moscow cannot manage without migrant labor, according to Maxim Reshetnikov, who heads the city department for economic development.
“Our demographic situation is such that the employable population in Moscow will shrink by almost 1 million people from 2012 through 2025,” he said.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.