Russia Considers Fingerprinting Migrants

MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) – Residents from former Soviet republics will have to carry a foreign passport and possibly have their fingerprints taken when entering Russia, the Russian labor minister said Wednesday.

Currently, residents of former Soviet republics are allowed to enter Russia with only a so-called domestic passport, which is more like ID than a passport for foreign travel.

Russian border guards are not allowed to stamp domestic passports, which makes it hard for the government to keep track of such incomers’ cross-border movements.

That regime will be scrapped in 2015, Russian Labor and Social Development Minister Maxim Topilin said.

“Fingerprinting will possibly also be introduced,” the minister said. He noted, however, that there were no plans to impose a visa regime for such states.

While about 5 or 6 million foreigners work in Russia, only 2 million are legally employed, the minister said.

Public discontent over rising numbers of foreign workers has heated up in recent months, and in Moscow thousands of migrants have been detained in police raids.

President Vladimir Putin proposed earlier this week that the government use smart cameras to keep track of immigrants from former Soviet states.

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