Moving to Moscow: Russian migration policy

Moving to Moscow: Russian migration policy

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If you're moving to Moscow, here is a selection of government information on Russia's migration policy, including useful terms to understand the Russian visa process.

If you're thinking about moving to Moscow, you'll find that Moscow is an international city with a large population of foreigners. One of the main reasons is that many large companies in Moscow prefer to invite workforce from abroad. Currently, 1,74 million foreign migrants are registered in Moscow.

Passport and migration services are now under one roof. The Federal Migration Service deals with everything that is related to migration, including visas, permits and migration cards.

The Moscow authorities are planning on issuing an electronic guest card for all legal foreign workers. This system would keep track of the number of migrants, and check if the workers have a work permit and if they have signed a contract with an employer. The system would also check that the foreign citizens have been through a health check-up.

The migration laws have toughened in recent years due to hiring of illegal immigrants. Despite the large amounts of fines issued to the companies, this has continued. Moscow has now resolved the issue by giving illegal immigrants the opportunity to legalise themselves. Legalisation gives the immigrants a month-long status as a worker, during which they have to find a job; otherwise they have to leave Moscow.

Here are some useful terms that a migrant should be aware of:

A foreign citizen is an individual with a citizenship other than that of the Russian Federation.

An invitation to enter the Russian Federation is a document which is the basis for issuing a visa to a foreign citizen.

A visa is a permit issued by a diplomatic or consular establishment of the Russian Federation to enter the Russian Federation with a valid identity document.

A migration card is a document which contains important information on a foreign citizen who is about to enter or has entered the Russian Federation. It contains information about the conditions of the visa, and the foreign citizen’s period of temporary stay in the Russian Federation.

A temporary foreign visitor is an individual arriving in the Russian Federation on the basis of a visa (if travelling as part of the visa-free regime, an individual that has received a migration card), but without a permanent residence or temporary residence permit.

A foreign worker is a foreign citizen arriving in the Russian Federation for a temporary stay and working according to regulations.

A work permit is a document certifying a foreign worker’s right to work temporarily on the territory of the Russian Federation. The card is issued for a period of up to 12 months and specifies a migrant’s details: full name, date of birth, passport details, occupation.

Deportation means the expulsion of a foreign citizen from the Russian Federation in the event of the loss or termination of the legal basis for his/her continued stay in the country.
Foreign citizens’ migration registration involves recording and summarising data on foreign citizens and their relocation.

Moscow’s migration registration bodies are the Federal Migration Service of Russia and the Federal Migration Service’s Moscow Directorate.

The host party may be a Russian citizen, a foreign citizen who has permanent residence in the Russian Federation or a legal entity, such as company or institution.


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