Russia caps number of immigrant workers

Immigrants to be prohibited from retail trade by April 1

A Russian law that caps the number of immigrant workers at six million, with priority given to occupations where foreigners do not compete with nationals, took effect this month. There are currently 10 million illegal immigrants living in Russia.

The law was passed following rallies and riots against non-Russians in northern Russia last year. Vladimir Putin backed the law saying the interests of the native population should be protected.

By April 1, the government is set to completely prohibit immigrants from working in retail trade.

Vyacheslav Postabnin, deputy head of the Federal Migration Service, said foreigners were not allowed in retail trade but they could register for wholesale trade or work for local employers.

Vietnamese workers make up a large number of the foreign workers in Russia, with some 80,000 Vietnamese immigrants working in markets and roadside shops. The Vietnamese government has appealed to Russia to help the thousands of Vietnamese immigrants obtain legal status.

“Vietnam respects the decision of the Russian Federation and we call on the Russian government to facilitate the Vietnamese community in living and working legally in the country," said Le Dzung, a Vietnamese foreign affairs ministry spokesperson.

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