Only 1.7 mln Migrants in Russia Have a Legal Status

Out of more than 7 million migrants inhabiting Russia, only 1.7 mln have a legal status, State Duma Speaker and Chairman of the Council of Migrants' Associations Gennady Seleznyov told the Council's 11th session.

He pointed out that it was necessary to improve the Citizenship Law currently in force in Russia.

He also reminded the assembly that the current leadership of the country's Federal Migration Service had declared its intention to work out a program of repatriation for fellow countrymen, and said he hoped the program would have "clauses improving the life of people who return to their historical motherland." He added that hopefully, the government would support the problem of granting a legal status to fellow countrymen who had spent more than five years in Russia but had not been naturalised.

On his part, head of the Presidential Business Administration for Citizenship Issues Vladimir Shumov too pointed out the importance of refreshing the country's laws dealing with migration and legal status of foreigners.

Although it still needs to be improved, the new Law on the Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation, which came into force on July 1st, 2002, is meant to achieve an "optimum combination of individual rights and state interests," said Shumov.