The Federation Council (the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia) approved on April 16 a law requiring foreign citizens to take examinations in Russian history, legislation and language in order to receive a certificate necessary for obtaining work permits and permanent or temporary residence permits. If the law is signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, practically all categories of foreign employees (visa or non-visa) working in Russia – irrespective of whether they are migrants from the countries of the former Soviet Union working as street cleaners or skilled drilling engineers from elsewhere — will be required to comply as of January 1, 2015. The law will also apply to foreign workers employed as nannies, housekeepers, etc., and foreigners obtaining Russian permanent or temporary residence permits.
These new rules will not affect highly-qualified specialists (foreign employees earning more than approximately 40,000 euros a year who hold an applicable work permit) who work in Russia and foreign students of accredited state educational institutions who wish to work simultaneously with their studies. In addition, applicants for a Russian permanent or temporary residence permit under 18 years old or over 65 (men) or 60 (women), as well as a few other categories of foreign citizens, will be exempt from such examinations.
Legislators believe the changes will be an important step towards the adaptation and integration of foreign citizens in Russia.