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Official says labor migrants will have to learn Russian language

December 06, 2011, 5:40 UTC+3

In quite a number of cases, the migrant workers do not understand the Russian language at all

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MOSCOW, December 6 (Itar-Tass) – Labor migrants from other countries will have to learn the Russian language if they seek permits for getting jobs in Russia, Konstantin Romodanovsky, the director of the Federal Migration Service said in an interview that the governmental Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily published Tuesday.

He indicated that command of the Russian language will be one of the main conditions for getting employment permits here.

“We believe that every migrant coming here should know the basics of the Russian language as a minimum because it’s impossible to ensure the social and legal defense of migrants otherwise,” Romodanovsky said, adding that the migrants who do not speak at least some Russian find the adaption to everyday reality in this country very difficult.

“Our stance is clear,” he went on. “The fewer the chaotic elements in the migration process, the less lawlessness there will be in the treatment of migrants here and the firmer the guarantees that the Russian authorities will be able to give to them.”

Officials at the Federal Migration Service say about 13 million to 14 million foreign citizens come to Russia every year and the majority of them arrive here for the sole purpose, which is to earn some money.

More often than not, the migrants are young people whose school years fell on the 1990’s when Russian was being squeezed out of use on the greater part of the former Soviet territory.

In many cases, it is the youngsters living in small towns or villages who have to leave their native places and turn into migrants, and the teaching of Russian suffered the most in the1990’s precisely at small-town and rural schools.

That is why there is no surprise in the expert assessments, the most optimistic of which suggest that 50% foreign workers as a minimum cannot fill out even the elementary documents in Russian without someone else’s aid.

In quite a number of cases, the migrant workers do not understand the Russian language at all.

The Federal Migration Service has changed over form words to practical actions in what concerns the adaptation and integration of migrants. It has opened 55 multifunctional centers across Russia where foreigners get consultations on the problems of legislation.

Also, it has set up a department for assistance to integration that works in contact with ethnic communities, and the training of citizens of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan willing to get jobs in Russia has begun.

Similar programs are in the offing in other former Soviet republics. Group classes have begun for the people who want to acquire some professional training and learn the basic language.

In addition to this, the future labor migrants are offered classes of Russian legislation and the basics of Russian culture and traditions.

International experience shows that the processes of adaption are mostly steered by the ethnic communities, religious and/or public organizations.

This practice exists in Russia, too. For instances, ethnic communities have organized successfully operating courses of Russia in Moscow, Chelyabinsk, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad, Yaroslavl, and some other cities and regions.

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