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Russian Migration Center Overwhelmed by Stampede Seeking Work Permits

Moscow's migration center struggling to cope with 4,000 to 6,000 applications per day

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SAKHAROVO, Russia (AP) — Moscow's migration center works 24 hours a day, seven days a week to process work-permit applications from the flood of people from other former Soviet states who travel to the Russian capital in search of work.

From 4,000 to 6,000 migrants come through the center every day, where they spend long hours waiting in line to register, undergo medical checks and be tested on their knowledge of Russian language and history.

Most are from Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine or Uzbekistan, the countries whose citizens make up the bulk of Moscow's foreign work force of about 1 million. Another 1 million work in the adjoining region. Most of the migrants work in construction, on municipal crews, as drivers or do other manual labor in Moscow, whose population tops 12 million.

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Migrants stand in line to register outside a tent next to a bus stop at Moscow's migration center in Sakharovo, a village about 60 kilometers (35 miles) south of Moscow | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP
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In this photo taken on Thursday, April 30, 2015, a Tajik migrant municipal worker caries Russian national and Moscow city flags to decorate the State Department Store, GUM, behind Red Square in Moscow | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP
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Workers construct a new building at the Moscow center for registration for migrant workers in Sakharovo village out Moscow, Russia | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP

Some migrants complain that it takes up to three days to get all of the paperwork completed, requiring repeated trips to the center in Sakharovo, a village about 60 kilometers (35 miles) south of the city.

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Migrants make a test on their knowledge of Russian language and history at the Moscow center for registration for migrant workers in Sakharovo village out Moscow, Russia | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP
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In this photo taken on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, a migrant with her baby waits to be interviewed at the Moscow center for registration for migrant workers in Sakharovo village out Moscow, Russia | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP
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A migrant prepares for X-ray check at Moscow's migration center in Sakharovo | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP
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A migration center employee takes migrant's blood for test at Moscow's migration center in Sakharovo | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP
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Migrants stand in line to register at Moscow's migration center in Sakharovo | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP
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Migrants wait to be interviewed at the Moscow center for registration for migrant workers in Sakharovo village out Moscow, Russia | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP

Andrei Krasnov, first deputy general director of the migration center, acknowledges the problem and says the situation should improve when construction of a new, larger facility is completed this summer.

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Head of the Moscow department for economic development Maxim Reshetnikov | Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP

Moscow cannot manage without migrant labor, according to Maxim Reshetnikov, who heads the city department for economic development.

"Our demographic situation is such that the employable population in Moscow will shrink by almost 1 million people from 2012 through 2025," he said.


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