Lowest Passing Score for Migrants

August 5, 2013
RIA Novosti: Aleksei Nikolskiy

Russia has instituted a new system for granting residency to foreigners. Basing it off a point system that favors the young and educated, this new system will further complicate the lives of the millions of illegal immigrants seeking to work and live inside the country. For further examples of the efforts made to limit the influx of foreigners, see our previously translated article: “Citizens of CIS Countries Traveling to Russia Will Be Required to Buy Health Insurance.”-Ed.

Russia has introduced an analogy of its Unified State Exam for foreigners who wish to obtain a residence permit in Russia. The Federal Migration Service (FMS) will assign them points depending on age, level of education and work experience. The passing score is 75 out of 100 possible points. The FMS practically leaves no chance to persons who are older than 55 without a normal specialized education or an invitation to work in the Russian Federation.

The FMS has designed a point system to select foreign citizens who wish to obtain a residence permit in Russia. The relevant draft was published for assessment of its regulatory impact. Foreigners who are temporarily staying in Russia as well as those who have permanent residence, including participants in resettlement programs for fellow countrymen will fill out a questionnaire indicating information about their education, age, level of knowledge of the Russian language, work experience, offers of work from Russian employers, and the existence of relatives in the Russian Federation.

The maximum number of points which an applicant can get is 100; the passing score has been established at 75.

As can be seen from a table designed by the FMS, preference for the issuance of residence permits will be given to persons age 21-45 – which automatically grants 20 points – and to those with higher education (masters’ degrees and specialists) or a scholarly degree – 24-25 points – and experience working in one’s field for five years – another 15 points – preferably in Russia – another 10 points. A person who wouldn’t make the passing score can clear the hurdle with an invitation from an employer – 10 points – relatives in Russia – 5 points – or fluency in the Russian language – 10 points.

Foreigners who have collected enough points can submit their documents for a residence permit within a year from receiving a notice from the FMS. Now, in order to apply for a residence permit in Russia, a foreigner must at first obtain permission for temporary residence and stay in the country on it from a year to three years, so the new rule substantially simplifies the procedures. However, that’s far from true for everyone. Thus, the FMS leaves practically no chances for persons older than 55 years; they get 0 points on their “age” line, so they can only obtain a residence permit if they gather the maximum number of points on other criteria. So the stream of applications to receive residence permits may drop to a trickle. Moreover, as can be seen from the draft document, the government may as a result of the monitoring change the lowest passing score and the questionnaire itself. In the opinion of the FMS, this would enable them to effectively regulate migration flows depending on the needs of the economy.

The idea for introducing a point system for migrants belongs to the Ministry of Economy. Back in 2006, Andrei Sharonov, who was then the deputy minister for economic development, proposed creating the point system as an alternative to quotas for the foreign labor force, in order to have the opportunity to attract qualified working personnel without restrictions and on a permanent basis. To be sure, the Ministry of Economy’s proposal was more liberal; the employer would have had the opportunity without notification of the migration services to accept foreigners for work who had collected the necessary passing score, in the opinion of the Ministry.