Russia’s Federal Migration Service (FMS) dismissed reports on Friday that it planned to carry out special raids targeting illegal Georgian immigrants in Russia.
The statement came two days after the Georgian Foreign Ministry criticized FMS head Konstantin Romodanovsky for warning that his service would take measures against the estimated 9,000 ethnic Georgians residing in Russia illegally.
At a meeting with the president of the Union of Georgians in Russia on Friday, Romodanovsky said: “The Federal Migration Service does not carry out any specially-prepared campaigns for the detention and prosecution of foreign citizens.”
“An agreement on strengthening and building up the relations between the Migration Service and the members of Union of Georgians in Russia was reached at the meeting,” the FMS said in a statement.
In January then Prime Minister and now President Vladimir Putin proposed an array of robust measures, including stiff laws to deal with illegal migration.
Putin called for expelling migration law-breakers and banning their reentry for five to ten years or longer, penalties for owners of the “rubber homes” where migrants register illegally, and criminal prosecution for those who hire illegal migrants and organize flop-houses.
Current administrative penalties for those violations are “purely symbolic” and therefore ineffective, he said.
Putin also proposed making exams in Russian language, history and the basics of Russian law mandatory for migrants from 2013. That, he said, will help them adapt to life in Russia.