Moscow: Russia should toughen its migration policy and continue to maintain a visa-free regime with former Soviet republics, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
"Russia is not going to isolate itself from anyone, but we definitely need to improve the quality of the migration policy, including labour migration," Putin said at a meeting of the Federal Migration Service, Xinhua reported.
The Prime Minister urged an easing of procedures for issuing work permits for highly skilled professionals and to restrict the illegal inflow of lower-qualified migrants.
"They (foreign professionals) are a drop in the ocean while they are the very people we need," Putin said.
He also asked to punish those who house illegal immigrants or unlawfully legalise them in Russia.