The Russian migration authorities require that companies shall in advance annually apply to the employment centers for the rights to employ foreigners. According to the current regulations, the companies shall reserve quotas for its foreign employees by filing applications for their work permit quota for the next year by the May 1st of the current year.

The Federal Migration Service is continuously working to develop and improve the migration rules. Indeed, the importance and relevance of migration policy and its development and adaptation to the changing living conditions is confirmed by the fact that the first deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation, Igor Shuvalov, heads the commission for developing migration policy. The latest amendments to migration legislation show that the state is interested and focused on changing migration policy.

The current mechanism for regulating immigration in Russia attests to the liberal nature of Russia’s immigration policy. In addition, creating an efficient mechanism for regulating migration in the interest of all those affected by migration (the state, individuals and society) is an important task.

Labor migration plays an important role in forming and developing migration policy. Specifically, particular attention is paid to the quota system for jobs. The Federal Migration Service insists on annulling the current system, as it hinders the regulation of the labor market, while the Ministry of Health and Social Development insists on maintaining the current bureaucratic procedure. The quota system was originally intended to regulate the flow of foreign workers to the various regions, resulting from the demand of each region for a specific number of foreign workers. However, almost immediately after it was approved, the quota system started to experience deficiencies in its functioning. Specifically, an employer today is not responsible for applications to hire foreign workers. An employer may request a quota of a certain number of foreigners, but is not obliged to hire this number of workers.

At the same time, there could be other employers that have not applied for a quota of workers, but their situation has changed because of rapid development, thereby requiring the hiring of foreign workers. In this situation, the quota system does not permit an employer to hire additional workers because of the bureaucratic difficulties in correcting the quota system.

In order to remedy this situation, the Ministry of Health and Development for the last couple of years has been accepting orders on approving a non-quota list of positions. However, this list provides mainly for only top manager positions and excludes mid-level specialists who, for the most part, are in demand when hiring foreign specialists. The opinion today is that the quota system only regulates statistical data on the applications submitted and does not assist in regulating the labor market of foreign workers.

Consequently, one may come to the conclusion that the quota system in its current state is inefficient and only leads to bureaucratic complications in hiring foreign specialists. In order to improve legislative regulation in the area of migration, the contradictions must be eliminated between legal norms, deficiencies in legal regulations and a glut of grandfather clauses and the laws and regulations at different levels.

For the moment it is necessary to develop and adopt an independent federal law to establish the foundation for state regulation of migration; quota organization and to determine the direction and type of migration and the procedure on exiting and entering the Russian Federation and registering individuals as per their place of residence while living in the Russian Federation.

Actual demand for labour imports appears to be 30 % higher than established quota. To solve this problem a careful elaboration of methods to calculate labour demand at the federal and regional levels is necessary. In the nearest future, the common labour exchange database will be organized in Russia. It will facilitate immigration control procedures, provide effective selection of labour migrants, and reduce illegal labor migration.

Moscow, August 29, 2011