Home / Publications / Trends in legal migration policy in the Russian F...

Trends in legal migration policy in the Russian Federation

Article by Asida Agrba published in The Moscow Times, February 2011


The main trend today in Russian migration legislation is the adaptation of the legal framework to include international standards relating to immigration in order to ease the migration process in Russia. Currently, the system of registering migration in Russia is at crisis point because of the lack of records of real migration. For example legally, the population of Moscow is approximately 10 million; however, when taking into account illegal immigrants, who are not registered, the population could be increased by several million.

Considering the above, the following trends in the development of migration policy in Russia can be seen:

  • the simplification of migration procedures for highly qualified specialists;
  • the introduction of measures to prevent the local qualified workforce from immigrating;
  • attempts to regulate migration registration;
  • the adoption of international experience in regulating migration processes in order to simplify the bureaucratic procedure of migration registration; and
  • attempts to create a common portal of state service that would allow citizens to be registered electronically by location.

The purpose of those measures is to create favourable conditions by eliminating regulatory obstacles, legal gaps, and excessive reference rules to promote the interests of the individual, society and the state by taking into account human rights and freedoms in relation to the freedom of movement throughout the Russian territory, as well as the regulation of public relations. A peculiar trait of the migration process in Russia is ethnicisation towards citizens of the CIS republics. Ethnicisation is a factor contributing to and consolidating migrantophobia in the minds of the Russian population, another feature of the migration processes in Russia.

As opposed to economic factors, it is not tangible but does play a significant and material role in forming public opinion. The reform of the current regime applicable to the citizens of the CIS republics should therefore aim to cover and strengthen the legalisation of their presence, as well as fighting against illegal labour activities. The objective should be to turn the migration process relating to these citizens into a benefit for the country and society. The trends mentioned above are a step in the right direction, but to improve the regulatory environment in relation to migration issues, it is necessary to establish an independent federal law that will create a basis for the state regulation of migration and will set out the types of migration, the procedures of entry to and exit from the Russian Federation, and the registration of people according to location.

The adoption of such a law in the migration area would allow the codification of existing migration regulations that are reflected in several different federal laws. The introduction of federal legislation could also resolve other issues. For example, by the introduction of a registration system of residence, which in turn may remove obstacles in relation to the exercise of rights of those who enter Russia legally, insuring freedom of movement and the credibility of data relating to the location of immigrants.

Finally, to manage the migration process, the country must develop economic conditions that will attract the local population to high technology industrial sectors, and cutting-edge agriculture that will provide work for highly qualified staff and will prevent them from leaving the Russian Federation. Consequently, it is important to create a new state policy that will resolve the issues of monitoring and regulating the migration process, and will support different categories of immigrants and help them find employment and education, control criminal activity in migrant regions, and create a functioning system of authority to control the migration process.

Asida Agrba | AssociateCMS, Russia

Trends in legal migration policy in the Russian Federation
JPG 927 kB