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Russian Interior Ministry finalizes bill on tightening controls over immigration

Spokeswoman Irina Volk pointed out that the bill provides for mandatory dactyloscopic registration and photographing of all foreigners entering Russia

MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. The Russian Interior Ministry has completed drafting a bill that calls for tightening state controls over immigration, which it has submitted to the Russian government for review, Irina Volk, the ministry’s spokeswoman, said.

"On March 29, 2024, the Russian Interior Ministry submitted to the government a draft federal law titled 'On the Conditions of Entry into the Russian Federation and Exit from the Russian Federation of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons, as well as the Conditions for Their Stay and Residence on the Territory of the Russian Federation,' which provides for the expansion of legal grounds for the use of modern means and methods of control over the entry and stay in Russia of foreign citizens," she wrote on her Telegram channel.

According to the spokeswoman, if enacted the law would establish legal grounds for introducing the biometric identification of individuals upon entering Russia, reducing the period of temporary stay of foreigners to 90 days per calendar year, and creating digital profiles of foreigner visitors. Previously, foreigners could temporarily stay in Russia for 90 days within every six-month period.

In addition, the spokeswoman said that a controlled stay regime will be introduced for certain categories of foreigners. There will be tighter control over employers and clients of work/services that recruit foreign labor, extrajudicial restriction of the rights of illegal immigrants, as well as prohibition on government bodies, organizations, individuals and legal entities from providing any services to violators of immigration law, as well as other decisions aimed at streamlining the stay of foreign citizens in Russia.

Details, specifics

The spokeswoman pointed out that the bill provides for mandatory dactyloscopic registration and photographing of all foreigners entering Russia. It also provides for the possibility of registering biometric data in the representation offices of the Russian Interior Ministry abroad. "A law enforcement regime of ‘controlled stay’ will be established for foreigners staying in Russia illegally, as well as for persons whom the state authorities have deemed unfit for entering Russia," she explained.

As for the digital profile of a foreign citizen, it will consist of a set of information about the foreigner in the electronic systems of state bodies and organizations, linked by a single unique identifier. According to Volk, a single document certifying the identity of a foreign citizen in Russia will replace all currently issued migration documents, as well as confirm the right to reside and work in the country.

"Register of employers and foreign employees. Employers and clients of work/services, provided they are included in the relevant register, will be entitled to hire foreign workers who are included in the register of foreign citizens and who are entitled to engage in labor activities in Russia," the spokeswoman said, adding that this is one of the provisions that the bill calls for enshrining in law.

According to Volk, the Russian Interior Ministry plans to mandate that foreign citizens sign a loyalty agreement, in which they agree to a possible restriction of their right to enter the country, as well as to a restriction of their stay in the country in case they violate the law. In addition, the bill will introduce the concept of expulsion. Such a measure will be applied to criminals or persons who pose a threat to security, and to those whose stay in Russia is deemed undesirable. "In this case, expulsion will be [available as a legal remedy] to both the courts as a measure of punishment and authorized federal executive bodies as part of an extrajudicial procedure as a measure of state coercion," the spokeswoman pointed out.

The Russian Interior Ministry also plans to establish administrative supervision over the stay or residence of foreign citizens in Russia. This will be a form of police activity. "Supervision includes the application of powers established by the law ‘On Police,’ as well as all new powers in the field of immigration," Volk added.

Goals of bill

A comprehensive bill in the field of immigration will create the necessary conditions for the practical implementation of measures related to the restriction of certain rights of foreign citizens and the introduction of additional responsibilities. "All authorities, organizations and citizens will have the opportunity to receive an electronic confirmation of the legality of a foreigner's stay in Russia in real time," Volk added. This confirmation will be the basis for providing such citizens with public and commercial services. In particular, electronic confirmation of the legality of stay will be required for registration of real estate rights, marriage, birth of a child, enrollment in universities, colleges and schools, and so on.