Russia does not plan to extend easing of requirements for migrants: Source

A customs officer at the Novye Yurkovichi car crossing checkpoint on the Russian-Belarusian border. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Jun 14, 2021, TASS. Russia is not going to extend easing of requirements for migrants, which has been in effect since April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a source in the law enforcement agencies told TASS.

Under the presidential decree that came into force in April 2020, all foreign citizens were allowed to temporarily stay and work in the country legally. In addition, foreigners who were staying in the country illegally received the opportunity to settle their legal status without any sanctions. The decree remains in effect until June 15 this year.

“No, it is not planned to extend it yet,” the source said in response to the relevant question.

An official at the Unified Migration Center in the Moscow Region also told TASS that they had no information about the extension of the “grace period” for migrants to stay in Russia.

“What will happen after June 15 is still unclear. As far as we know, there has been no extension of these deadlines yet. Therefore, if it remains so, then in this case, a large number of foreign citizens who did not have time to legalize themselves will have to cross the border,” the migration office official said.

The official explained that if a migrant has been in Russia for the entire duration of the pandemic, then he will have to leave Russia for three months – 90 days.

He also noted that during May-June there were many applications from people who wanted to regulate their legal status in the country and it resulted in long queues.

“You can sign up [so as not to stand in line], but the fact is that pre-registration for two weeks in advance – there are many applicants,” the official explained.

In April 2021, Russian Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Gorovoy urged the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries’ representatives to carry out preventive work with illegal migrants, who are staying in Russia, so as not to bring the case to their forcible expulsion. Gorovoy also emphasized that no law enforcement practice would be applied to the CIS countries’ residents who stayed in Russia illegally for violations of migration laws.

The president’s decree, which allowed all foreign citizens to temporarily stay and work in the country legally, is in force in Russia until June 15, 2021.

According to the Interior Ministry, about 1.6 mln migrants have not left Russia after the end of their stay since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started. The measures allowed to hammer out a legal status of nearly 400,000 people.

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