MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s lower house of parliament gave final approval on Friday to two bills seeking to introduce expanded obligatory educational and medical testing for foreigners applying for work or residency in Russia.
The first bill stipulates obligatory testing in Russia’s language, history and laws. Similar requirements are already in place for migrant workers employed in the utilities sector, retail and social services.
According to an explanatory note to the bill, the majority of migrants who come to Russia are young people from ex-Soviet states who do not speak the language and are poorly informed about the country’s culture and laws.
“The large number of foreigners who have no opportunity to properly adapt to the country’s cultural and social norms causes tension in society and creates a potential threat to ethnic peace,” the note reads.
The tests will be conducted by certified educational facilities in Russia and abroad. Those who passed the tests will receive a certificate valid for five years.
Highly trained foreign specialists employed in Russia will be exempt from the test, however. Also exempt are disabled people, minors up to 18 years old, elderly people over 60 years old, and Russian-born immigrants who decided to return to Russia under the state repatriation program.
That law would come into force on January 1, 2015.
The second bill stipulates that all foreigners arriving in Russia without a visa for a period of more than 90 days and seeking jobs in the country must submit medical papers confirming that they are not suffering from drug addition, HIV or another infectious disease that poses a danger to other people.
Such documents must be submitted at the time of the application for a job. At present, such documents can be provided within a 30 days after a job application is approved.
That law could come into force as early as on January 1, 2014.
According to the country's Federal Migration Service, some 14 million foreign citizens arrive in Russia every year, about one-third with the goal of finding jobs.