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Kadyrov Concerned by Inflow of Migrant Labor to Chechnya

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has voiced concern over the growing influx of migrants into the volatile North Caucasus republic, which is ranked second among Russia's regions in terms of unemployment levels.

Chechen authorities have detected more than 300 cases of migration law violations this year and several grievous crimes, particularly murders committed by migrants against their compatriots, Kadyrov wrote on his Livejournal blog Tuesday.

"On the one hand, if they come, it means that not everything is so bad here — there is work, there are certain conditions," Kadyrov wrote.

"But on the other hand, if around the country in general the supply of labor migrants is explained by a lack of work force, then for our republic an uncontrollable inflow of labor can't be justified," the Chechen leader wrote.

Kadyrov said six Vietnamese citizens were deported a few days ago for living in Chechnya without registration and violating the law. But he said this was not representative of a move toward mass deportations.

"If migrants have the right to work here and pay their monthly taxes then there is no problem. Moreover, we are ready to help them acclimatize to conditions [in Chechnya] that are unusual for them," he said.

Kadyrov made the statement in response to multiple complaints from local residents who questioned the need for foreign work migrants in Chechnya on the leader's blog, citing high levels of unemployment.

The state quota for work permits for migrants in Chechnya this year is 71, compared to 341 last year, the regional website of the Federal Migration Service said.

From early January to late May, Chechen authorities issued 18 work permits for foreign migrants, coming from Brazil, Zimbabwe, India, South Korea, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, Uruguay, Finland and Ethiopia, the migration service said.

However, migrants can also work after obtaining a so-called patent, 316 of which have been issued this year. Most of them came from Uzbekistan, and the rest from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.

Migrant workers paid about 1 million rubles ($31,000) in taxes to the Chechen budget this year, the migration service said.

Migrant workers in Chechnya are mostly employed in construction, the majority of them being Chinese, Turkish, Vietnamese and Tajik nationals, Kadyrov said.

Chechnya is second among Russia's 83 regions in terms of unemployment levels for 2012, according to the State Statistics Service. Almost one-third of Chechnya's population is unemployed, compared to almost a half of the population in the neighboring North-Caucasus republic of Ingushetia.

The other Russian regions mostly have single-digit levels of unemployment.

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