Russia to fingerprint foreigners

Anna Sulimina

Migration rules are getting tighter for foreigners who work in Russia. The new law, effective from 2012, will screen all foreigners for fingerprints who apply for a work permit.

[] Fingerprints will be kept in a special database, with the aim of cutting down on crime. The head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Aleksander Bastrykin, who is the initiator of the new law, said that the number of crimes committed by foreign workers increased by 8 per cent in 2009.  

"The number of crimes committed by migrants is constantly increasing, partly because they have been losing their jobs in the crisis. The new measures will help curb the crime rate", said Bastrykin.

According to the Federal Migration Service, some 11 million legal workers flowed into the country last year, while the number of illegal migrants may be as high as 5 million.

Bastrykin claims that migrants have committed some 60,000 crimes, 53,000 of which were by CIS migrants. Half of these crimes happened in Moscow, while a third took place in the Moscow Region.

Due to the economic downturn, Russia’s unemployment rate increased by 1.8% in the first week of February to 2.2 million people, the Health and Social Development Ministry reported.  
Another rule to control migration is in the works. The State Duma has proposed that foreigners who work for individuals be required pay 1000 roubles a month to the FMS. This could help the job market for locals and help legalize and protect migrant workers.

"We are going to make this sector of the economy more transparent. After implementing these measures, federal and local budgets can gain several billions roubles per year", said Vladimir Slutsker, a senator and the author of the project.

There are some 4 million foreigners who work as builders, cleaners and in other low-paid positions.