Inflow of migrants to Russia a necessity - Migration Service

Federal Migration Service chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said the inflow of foreign migrants is becoming a necessity to fill workforce shortages, given the continuing decline in Russia's population.

Federal Migration Service chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said the inflow of foreign migrants is becoming a necessity to fill workforce shortages, given the continuing decline in Russia's population.

"Depopulation is a pressing problem everyone is aware of. A moderate forecast from federal statistics service Rosstat suggests that the population will shrink to 139 million by 2030," he told the Migration Commission of the Kremlin Ethnic Relations Council on Friday.

"What will happen to our country in 50 years time if the tendency persists?" he asked.

Amid a declining birthrate, migrants will be compensating for workforce shortages. Local labor markets in many regions are experiencing not only relative, but even absolute shortages in workforce," Romodanovsky said.

However, "despite the positive effect of partial compensation of workforce shortages, migration inevitably breeds problems, all of which has an impact on national security," he said.

The share of senior citizens may grow in Russia, Romodanovsky told the Public Chamber on Oct. 17.

"We are well aware that Russia has 70 million citizens able to work. A 10-million reduction will cut this number to 60 million," he said.

The recently confirmed migration police strategy envisions compensation for workforce shortages, including by migrants, he also said.

The shortages are rooted in the "demographic decline in the 1990s," he said.

"This does not at all mean that Russians will be replaced by migrants. It is our duty to ensure that the country get temporary workers alongside those who will arrive for permanent residence. Unfortunately, the objective situation is prompting this," Romodanovsky said.

Rosstat earlier reported, citing the results of the 2010 census, that Russia has a population of 142.857 million.

A comparison between the figures obtained in the last Soviet-era census in 1989 and the first Russian census in 2002, shows that Russia lost 1.8 million people over these 13 years and another 2.3 million over the past eight years, and dropped to 8th place in the global population rating, falling behind China, India, the United States, Brazil, Pakistan and even Bangladesh.

Rosstat's August figures indicate that Russia's population increased by 85,600 in the first half of 2012 to reach 143.1 million by July 1. A natural population increase was registered in 33 regions in the first half of 2012, compared to 22 regions in the first half of 2011.

The Labor and Social Welfare Ministry said on Oct. 2 that it looks at Russia's demographic situation with optimism.

"The birthrate continues rising and the death rate going down," Labor Minister Maxim Topilin said, citing a demographic survey for the period between January and August 2012.

The ministry's press release, received by Interfax, says, citing Topilin, that 176,300 children were born in Russia in August 2012 , up 1.8 percent or 3,200 more than in August 2011. "It was the highest monthly increase since the program to improve the demographic situation was launched," he said.

"In all, 1.253 million children were born in Russia from January to August 2012, up 7.0 percent or 82,000 more than in the same period in 2011. The birth rate has been increasing in almost all regions," he said.

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