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Last Updated: Monday, 15 January 2007, 08:11 GMT
Russia limits jobs for immigrants
By James Rodgers
BBC News, Moscow

Supporters of a Russian national revival party hold their flags during a rally
Last year saw rallies and riots against immigrants in Russia
Tough new laws limiting job opportunities for immigrants have been introduced in Russia.

The number of non-Russians working in the retail trade is now being limited to 40%, but by the end of the year that number is supposed to be zero.

Police raid the country's markets on a daily basis, enforcing quotas on the number of foreign workers - mainly from central Asia and the Caucasus.

The new law was proposed after race riots in northern Russia last summer.

President Vladimir Putin spoke of the need to defend the interests of the native population.

Markets - often a source of employment for Russia's army of immigrant workers - were singled out.

Immigration officials say that the new laws have encouraged more foreigners to apply for legal residency status even if they will remain barred from working in retail.

Human rights groups fear that police officers may try to abuse their authority as they carry out their duties.

Immigrant workers share those fears. They also question who would actually do their often difficult, dangerous and dirty jobs if they did not.


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