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MOSCOW, April 25 (Itar-Tass) – Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks it right to toughen entry procedures for foreigners from Central Asian countries and calls to take extra measures to speed up the introduction of entry procedures by foreign-travel passports for citizens of former Soviet republics and promised Russia’s financial help to its neighboring countries to issue necessary documents.
“I think we must civilize and toughen entry procedures for foreign citizens, primarily from Central Asian republics,” the president said on Thursday during his televised question-and-answer session.
In his words, such procedures will be imposed from 2015 because these countries should have time enough to print passports and other relevant documents. “We can try to speed up this process but in this case we will not be eligible to lay any claims,” Putin stressed. “Otherwise, we will have to help [them print passports], and to allocate funds from our budget for these purposes. Well, this option is worth of being considered.”
According to official statistics, as many as 10.5 million foreigners were registered in Russia as of April 2013. This number includes 2.5 million Uzbek citizens, 1.4 million Ukrainians, 1.1 million Tajik nationals, 599,000 Azerbaijani citizens, 559,000 citizens of Kyrgyzstan, and 517,000 Moldovans.
Among the countries, with which Russia has the visa regime, the leaders are Germany and China. Highly-qualified specialists come to Russia from Great Britain, the United States, France, and Germany. Moscow and St. Petersburg is the final destination for 40 percent of foreigners arriving in Russia.
In June 2012, the Russian president endorsed the concept of Russia’s state migration policy for a period of up to 2025. In line with the concept, migration growth will be maintained at an annual level of at least 200,000 till the end of 2015 through the return of Russian compatriots living abroad and attracting highly-qualified specialists and the youth.
From November 2012, each foreigner seeking employment in Russia’s housing, retail trade and services sector is obliged to prove the command of the Russian level at a basic level.
From 2015, foreigners will be able to enter Russia only on foreign-travel passports. The requirement will not be applicable to citizens of the Customs Union member states, namely Kazakhstan and Belarus.