Russian economy needs no more than six million foreign workers, the Federal Migration Service (FMS) said Monday.
"Currently, there are nearly 11 million (foreigners) in Russia. About 60 percent of them came here as labor migrants," Konstantin Romadanovsky, head of the FMS, told a meeting chaired by the presidential human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin.
The FMS said that out of 11 million foreigners here, some 3.5 million people have been in Russia illegally while the rest arrived to the country on working, student, visitors' visas.
That imbalance led to the rise of xenophobic sentiment and hatred among the Russian population, Romadanovsky said.
The official also blamed migrants themselves for the tension.
"They behave in Russia like they got accustomed to behave in their home countries. This, obviously, irritates our citizens," he said, adding that irritation is being utilized by the political radicals for provoking inter-ethnic split.
In 2013, 19 people were killed and 168 injured in ethnic- related attacks in 32 Russian regions, according to human rights workers. Moscow and St. Petersburg occupy two top positions in the rating of the most xenophobic Russian cities.
In October, thousands of people took to the street and looted stores owned by immigrants after a Russian man was fatally stabbed by an Azerbaijan migrant in southern Moscow.
Lukin had proposed a parliamentary investigation into the unrest, saying the main task was to solve the complicated national problem and eliminate corruption associated with it.