Non-citizens found guilty of serious violations of Russian law could be booted out if the plan goes ahead
Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs is looking into the possibility of expelling foreigners from the country if they commit gross administrative breaches, the head of the national migration department has revealed.
Speaking as part of an interview with Interfax, published on Thursday, Valentina Kazakova said that the ministry "continues to work on improving the mechanisms of control over the stay of foreign nationals in Russia."
The official said consideration is underway for revising the rules to introduce the possibility of deporting people that have perpetrated "grave administrative offenses, including violations on public order."
She also said that the department plans to introduce a single document with an electronic information carrier for overseas citizens, which will help verify their identity.
Kazakova's remarks come shortly after the introduction of tough new rules for migrants working in the world's largest country. From December 29, virtually all foreigners living in Russia, even young children, are required to undergo regular rigorous health checks, although there has been speculation that the plans could be reviewed.
Under the new requirements, people living in the country who are not Russian or Belarusian citizens and do not hold permanent or temporary residence permits will have to attend a clinic for blood tests, sexual health screenings, urine analysis and even chest x-rays to prove that they aren't suffering from communicable diseases or tuberculosis.
Responding to reports that foreigners staying in the country for more than 90 days would be subject to the checks every three months, the health ministry in Moscow said workers would not have to repeat the examinations quarterly, and that it was preparing to make clarifications "given the concern that arose from interpreting the law."
Tensions have flared between Russians and a new generation of workers from Central Asian former Soviet republics in recent years. On the night of January 1, a brawl between three Uzbek and 10 Kyrgyz citizens erupted in the south-eastern Tekstilshchiki district of Moscow. Interfax reported that three people received serious stab wounds in the fight, which was believed to be over personal hostilities.
In a high-profile incident last summer, more than 100 people were arrested in the Kuzminki area of the Russian capital after a massive fight between two groups, mainly migrants, broke out. Some reports suggested that the scrap had been pre-planned online.
Moscow is home to a large number of foreign laborers from Central Asian countries, such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Russia's economy relies somewhat on the cheaper workforce from these former Soviet republics, especially in the service and construction sectors. In December 2020, the Ministry of Internal Affairs estimated that almost half of all migrants living in the country had left during the Covid-19 pandemic.