As Russia’s economy worsens, immigration tightens

World Today

Under Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become one of the world’s top destinations for immigrants. Most of them are from former Soviet republics. However, as the economy worsens, immigration pathways are becoming tighter. CCTV’s Tom Barton reported this story from Moscow.

Immigrants come to Civil Assistance for help ranging from legal matters to medicine, clothing and food.

The staff had been working with the government on immigration reform, but were disappointed when the new policy ideas were published.

As Russia’s economy worsens, immigration tightens

Under Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become one of the world’s top destinations for immigrants. Most of them are from former Soviet republics. However, as the economy worsens, immigration pathways are becoming tighter. CCTV’s Tom Barton reported this story from Moscow.

“Putin’s election campaign hadn’t started yet and he had already published articles, and one of these articles was dedicated to immigration, and it was principally totally different to what was in our concept,” Svetlana Gannushkina, official from the Civil Assistance said.

Civil Assistance wanted to liberalize immigration laws.

Russia’s economic troubles mean immigrants are finding fewer opportunities. Compared with the same period in 2014, Russia’s Federal Migration Service, or FMS, said there’s been a 70 percent decline in the number of immigrant workers coming to Russia.

For years immigrant workers, often from Central Asia have been an important part of the Russian economy, doing jobs like cleaning, construction and clearing snow.

The government said foreigners are being denied a continued presence in Russia because they have violated their right to residency.

FMS said while the overall number of immigrants from Central Asia is declining, immigration from neighboring Moldova and Ukraine is on the rise and that these workers are replacing those from Central Asia. Workers needed to help build Russia’s troubled economy.

“Everyone who works in the FMS, either they are trained, or they are from that school of thought that the whole issue is actually protecting Russia is number one,”Bayisa Wak Woya from the United Nations High commission for Refugees in Russia said.

Possible amnesty for immigrants has been discussed but for now the new laws, which abolish a previous quota system and which introduced language and history tests along with the need for extra documentation, remain in place.