President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. What have you got for us, Mr Romodanovsky?
Federal Migration Service Director Konstantin Romodanovsky: Mr President, I would like to report on the migration situation in the Russian Federation and on what is being done to implement your instructions.
I would like to begin with events that took place two years ago, on January 26, 2012, when you took part in the FMS Board meeting and gave us certain instructions. This was a sort of starting point. Since that time, you have signed 42 executive orders approving laws, half of which are aimed to combat illegal migration. I think there is a certain effect and we have found a mechanism that does not allow for illegal migration, specifically illegal labour migration.
We have banned entry for over 600,000 foreign citizens. Clearly, the majority are from CIS states for out of the 17.7 million people who entered the Russian Federation last year 12.4 million came here to work and to earn money. When I say ‘to work’ I am referring to those who tried to obtain a work permit or patent, and ‘to earn money’ refers to those who tried to work illegally. 40% are legally employed, 60% — illegally, violating the requirements of their stay here and working in breach of law. Our efforts were targeted at the latter.
The 42 laws that have come into effect are based on the estimates we made using our data. We are amending the legislation to create mechanisms for the Migration Service and other law enforcement agencies to locate violators and prevent them from further engaging in illegal activity rather than to complicate things for foreign citizens in the Russian Federation.
Vladimir Putin: At our latest meeting, as you may remember, we heard a number of proposals from some colleagues, governors, including the Mayor of Moscow. What is being done to implement the agreements we reached then?
Konstantin Romodanovsky: Mr President, we have prepared amendments to the draft law. In March, we intend to take them up with the Government Commission for Migration Policy headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, and after their approval by the Commission, we will start directly working on them, as this procedure is new for Russia.
I find them to be truly progressive proposals that will allow us to radically change the situation regarding not only labour migration, but also the stay of foreign citizens on the territory of the Russian Federation in general.
Vladimir Putin: Are you referring to the proposals to improve the patenting system?
Konstantin Romodanovsky: Yes, proposals to improve the system of organising labour migration. I believe we will see a radical change in this situation.
Vladimir Putin: When will you have these additional proposals properly documented and submitted to Parliament for consideration?
Konstantin Romodanovsky: I expect the draft law to be submitted during the spring session. I assure you that the FMS will do its job as fast as possible.
Vladimir Putin: This is of course primarily the job of the State Duma, but you will have to get actively involved in a broad public discussion as well, because this concerns many citizens of the Russian Federation and foreign citizens, citizens of CIS states who are seeking work here.
Everything should be done in a civilised fashion, with due account of the interests and comfort of the people who live in various areas of Russia, citizens of the Russian Federation. However, we should also demonstrate a civilised attitude to those who come here in search of work and earnings.
There is nothing wrong about it; they are in fact contributing to our economy. Let me repeat once again that we need to take care primarily of our labour market, as any country would do, which is only natural, but it should all be implemented in a civilised way and efficiently.
Konstantin Romodanovsky: Mr President, all the draft laws are posted on the FMS website and we are discussing all sorts of innovations with the public. This instruction of yours will also be implemented.
Vladimir Putin: Fine, make sure you do not take too long. As I understand, all the ideas are now clear, so you need to formulate them as quickly as possible and use all available means to have a public discussion.
Besides, you need to have a so-called zero hearing with the Duma deputies of what you have drafted, and post it on the internet to have the broadest possible discussion.