According to a World Bank report, the number of foreigners living irregularly in Russia in 2000 was between 1.3 and 1.5 million.
High numbers of irregular migrants are caused in part by a complicated registration system. The residence permit system (propiska) was officially abolished in 1993, but it has continued to exist in another incarnation: the "residence registration system" (registratsia). All Russian citizens have to be registered at the local police departments. There are two kinds of registration for Russian citizens: permanent and temporary. The first one is obligatory for all Russian citizens, and they receive it in their own cities and towns. If Russian citizens leave their place of permanent residence and stay in another Russian city/town/village for more than 14 days, they have to get the temporary registration at the place of sojourn. The procedure of temporary registration is complicated, and Russian citizens prefer to avoid it, making them officially irregular internal migrants.
All foreign citizens have to be registered in regional branches of the FMS during the three working days after their arrival in Russia. The procedure of registration was streamlined in 2007, but it is still complicated for many kinds of migrants. As a result, the majority of labour migrants work in the shadow economy. This way, they lack not only the opportunity to have a legal job (legal status), but also to defend their labour and other rights, including their basic human rights.
Transit migrants from Afghanistan, China, Angola, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Ethiopia and other countries who are heading to Western Europe make up another significant group of irregular migrants. Instead of moving on as planned, many end up staying in Russia. An estimated 1.5 million such migrants were staying in the country in 2006.