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Russia's Novosibirsk Bans Migrants From Working as Taxi Drivers

A parking lot for taxis in the city of Novosibirsk. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS

Russia’s Novosibirsk region has banned migrants from working as taxi drivers and selling beverages and tobacco, according to a decree signed by Governor Andrei Travnikov on Monday.

The measure comes amid mounting pressure on foreign workers — mostly from Central Asian countries  —across Russia in the aftermath of last month’s deadly concert hall attack outside Moscow. The four suspected gunmen behind the massacre are said to be citizens of Tajikistan, which has long-held migratory links with Russia. 

According to Travnikov’s decree, companies in Novosibirsk are required to fire migrant workers who drive taxis or sell tobacco and beverages within 60 days.

Moscow-backed authorities in annexed Crimea later on Monday also announced work restrictions for migrant workers, with migrants being barred from seeking employment in “certain fields.” Authorities did not specify the types of work that would be impacted by the ban.

Central Russia’s Novgorod region issued a similar ban on March 26, just four days after the attack on Crocus City Hall, which left 145 people dead and hundreds more wounded.

Before the deadly shooting, restrictions against migrants working in certain professions were enforced in nine Russian regions.

In 2015, the Russian government granted regional authorities the right to ban foreign workers for up to one year in order to regulate local labor markets and prioritize Russian citizens for employment.

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