About 1 million foreigners are officially registered with immigration authorities in Moscow and 1.5 million in surrounding areas, a top immigration official said Tuesday.
“We have a centralized database of foreign nationals. Today, we obtained the most recent figures: there are about a million foreign nationals in Moscow and 1.5 million in the Moscow Region,” Federal Migration Service (FMS) deputy head Yelena Radochina told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.
About 3.65 million foreigners are estimated to live in Russia illegally, she said.
Radochina also said about 93,000 Moscow work permits were issued to foreigners in January-July. The number of officially registered migrant workers in Moscow stands at about 200,000, most of which are citizens of former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Tajikistan.
About 20,000 foreigners were expelled from Russia in the first seven months of 2013.
The head of the Federal Migration Service's Moscow branch, Oleg Molodiyevsky, said about 240,000 labor migrants are registered in the Moscow region.
The recent crackdown on immigrants in Russia began after a fracas at a Moscow market in late July in which a policeman was violently attacked by a worker while trying to detain a suspected sex offender. Russia’s markets are often staffed by immigrants from neighboring Central Asian countries.
The Russian economy is heavily dependent on immigrant labor, particularly from Central Asia, but there is widespread opposition among the public to increasing levels of immigration.