The main challenge for current Russian migration policy is the global economic crisis. The slowdown in economic growth leads to a substantial quota reduction for labour migrants.
The decline in labour demand will change not only the external, but also the internal migration flows. People tend to leave their place of residence and turn to economically more successful regions. This constitutes a particular problem for the monotowns, which depend on one primary employer. About 10 Russian monotowns are confronted with considerable economic and social difficulties, which may lead to the emergence of new ghost towns in Russia.
The economic crisis has also intensified alarmism in Russian society, with further increases in xenophobia. There is no comprehensive integration policy to counteract such developments.
The second challenge is connected with the non-democratic political regime in Russia. The role of civil society in political decision-making is weakened. The concrete migration policy measures depend mainly on bureaucratic decisions, which fall short of being a political strategy, the tendencies of which vary from liberalizing to restrictive.