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The Russian government has increased its quota for foreign workers
The Russian government has increased its quota for foreign workers this year by 90%, to 3.4 million people, the cabinet said on its website on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the government announced plans to raise the quota for foreign workers in 2009 to around 3.7-3.9 million people.

Following the introduction of sweeping new migration laws, the number of CIS migrant workers allowed to work legally in Russia was previously reduced from around 6 million in 2007 to 2 million in 2008, and non-Russians were banned from working in markets and retail outlets.

Central Asian countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a confederation of ex-Soviet republics, provide the bulk of the workforce needed to quench Russia's demand for cheap labor.

There are currently at least 5 million foreigners illegally living and working in Russia. Many of them find semi-skilled jobs for meager wages and are often cheated by their employers.

The leaderships of some Central Asian ex-Soviet republics have urged the Russian leadership to improve their citizens' working conditions, and honor their rights on Russian territory.


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