MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - The head of Russia's Federation of Migrants has written to President Vladimir Putin on behalf of all foreign workers asking him to grant an amnesty to the country's millions of illegal immigrants, Izvestia newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Muhammad Amin Majumder said in his letter there are around 10 million immigrants illegally working in Russia who could be contributing tax revenue to the Russian economy if they were legalized. The best solution would be to grant amnesty to all illegal immigrants, Majumder wrote.
Immigrants “are ready to pay taxes and to respect Russian laws and traditions,” he said, adding the Russian budget loses “several billion rubles every year due to the shadow economy and the growing level of illegal immigration.”
According to Izvestia, some deputies of the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, supported the idea. But Dmitry Sablin of United Russia, a deputy chairman of the Duma's CIS Committee, said an amnesty should only apply to immigrants who are employed.
Similar amnesties in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States have yielded positive results, former Deputy Director of the Federal Migration Service Vyacheslav Postavnin told Izvestia.
However, another expert, Yury Krupnov, argued that “these kinds of steps will only maintain and even encourage illegal immigration, instead of fighting it.”
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the letter, saying he had not yet seen it, Izvestia reported.
The Federal Migration Service also declined to comment, saying it had not yet seen Majumder's letter.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).