10 may 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with Konstantin Romodanovsky, director of the Federal Migration Service

The two officials discussed migration flow management which, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, is not only vital to Russia’s economy but to the population’s broader well-being. He added that a great deal of work on this remained to be done.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Migration flow management is a very important economic tool that has a significant influence on social and inter-ethnic issues in addition to its other aspects. Naturally, Russia is chiefly interested in welcoming highly qualified specialists, so let’s start there. How are things going in this area, including the recent agreements we concluded with our partners pertaining to mutual regulations?

Konstantin Romodanovsky: New migration legislation, economically-driven legislation, came into force on July 1, 2010. We have amended it twice since then but it is now in force and has established itself as a serious and efficient mechanism. This diagram shows – except for the New Year holiday period – an increase in the number of work permits issued to both qualified and highly qualified specialists. Compared to last year, this year we see a two-fold increase in the number of qualified specialists – technical top managers – and highly qualified ones – those paid at least 2 million roubles per year. This diagram also gives a change in the breakdown in terms of countries of origin. Uzbekistan tops the list in patents and work permits issued. China and Ukraine are taking the lead in terms of the number of qualified specialists while most of the highly qualified specialists come from Germany, the UK, France and the United States. This is a clear indication that this legislation is working and will yield positive results in the longer term.

As for our arrangements with CIS countries, including regarding patents, we have reached the level of 4,600 patents per day for people in work, including actual people, such as babysitters, housemaids, builders, as well as legal entities. So, its efficiency is evident. Moreover, this mechanism has generated budget revenues exceeding 0.5 billion roubles since it was launched.

Vladimir Putin: Taking a broader look at the problems, for example, the number of requests from regional authorities and others, how are these requests processed? What issues do you actually face in this area?

Konstantin Romodanovsky: Mr Putin, naturally, we need to intensify our migration supervision work. Existing tools show that there is room for improvement. For example, a foreign citizen leaves this country without paying the fine due. There are 200,000 such citizens which means that the budget is about 0.5 billion roubles short. We need to put things right, that is, develop a mechanism to ban these citizens from entering Russia.

What can we do if a citizen doesn’t pay the fine? There are other mechanisms that help us maintain order. We have already launched mechanisms that help us save government funds spent on expelling foreigners from Russia. According to the law, we ban foreign citizens who have violated the Administrative Offense Code twice from re-entering Russia. This is the most effective measure. Last year we banned over 60,000 people from entering Russia and we will continue this work. Thus, expelling these citizens costs us nothing. We ban this risk group from entering Russia and behaving in an improper fashion here. Let those who disrespect our laws stay at home.

Vladimir Putin: So, the information systems that you are bringing on-line are functioning?

Konstantin Romodanovsky: Yes, Mr Putin, you have seen the electronic system we have in place, I would like to show you a logical continuation of it. This is an interactive map (shows the map). It shows the overall number of foreign citizens in Russia in relation to Russian citizens. We can see the breakdown for each particular region, including the numbers of entries, foreign citizens, visas issued – all the statistics that the migration service may need in one way or another. This map shows, in colour, the number of foreigners arriving in Chukotka. We can see the breakdown for every region, including the number of foreigners, documents received, visas and invitations – this map shows everything. This is the centrepiece of our information system and it is supported by a personal electronic record for each foreign citizen, as we have already shown you.

Vladimir Putin: We need to make sure that all these electronic systems benefit management in this area. I would like to emphasise once again that this sector is not only vital to the economy but to the population’s broader well-being. And there is still a great deal of work to do here.

Konstantin Romodanovsky: Mr Putin, we believe that the elaboration of a migration policy strategy will be a logical conclusion to the work we have done so far. I believe that Russians’ interests should be paramount. The migration policy should be flexible and economically driven. But it should be driven by what is in Russians’ best interests.

Vladimir Putin: You are absolutely right.