Russia needs 5 million immigrants per year: agency chief
Russia needs about five million immigrants each year to compensate for a declining population, the head of its immigration agency said on Wednesday.
"Russia needs about five million immigrants per year, including 40,000 to 60,000 with specialist qualifications," Konstantin Romodanovski, the head of the Federal Migration Service, told reporters.
"Russia is currently only receiving half of the qualified people it needs," he said.
In his annual address on Tuesday, President Dimitry Medvedev discussed the need to repopulate Russia and announced measures to encourage reproduction.
Russia's underpopulation was "a serious threat, a challenge for the nation," said Medvedev.
Russia's population is about 141.2 million, according to the most recent statistics. The government is targetting a population of 145 million in 2025.
The population has declined by 5.8 million since 1992, and last year it recorded the first increase since 1995, attributed to immigration.
© 2010 AFP