About 20,000 high-profile foreign professionals and researchers come to Russia annually, less than half the influx that the country needs to implement the Kremlin's modernization plans, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said Thursday.
About 2,000 of them are from global companies such as Siemens, Microsoft and Bosch, he told the Federation Council, Interfax reported.
A lot was done already to ease visa regulations for highly skilled migrants, of whom the country needs about 46,000 a year, he said.
Meanwhile, about 30,000 Russian professionals and researchers work abroad, a figure comparable to “the number of the most active members of the Russian Academy of Sciences,” he said.
The total number of foreign migrants in Russia was 12.4 million this year, a 4 percent decrease from 2009, Romodanovsky said.
About 3 million to 3.5 million of them are in Russia illegally, mostly from ex-Soviet republics, he said. He criticized the idea that foreigners are responsible for an uptick in crime, saying only 3.5 percent of crimes nationwide are carried out by migrants.
He blamed the media for portraying migrants in an unfavorable light.