MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) – The lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, passed in the first reading on Wednesday a bill introducing obligatory testing in Russian language, history and laws for labor migrants.
Similar requirements are already in place for migrant workers employed in the utilities sector, retail and social services.
According to an explanatory note to the bill, the majority of labor migrants who come to Russia are young people from ex-Soviet states who do not speak the language and are poorly informed about the country’s culture and laws.
“The huge number of foreigners, who have no opportunity to properly adapt to the country’s cultural and social norms, sparks tension in society and creates a potential threat to ethnic peace,” the note reads.
The tests will be conducted by certified educational facilities in Russia and abroad.
Applicants will have to pay up to 5,000 rubles (about $160) to take the test. Those who have passed it will receive a certificate valid for five years.
Highly trained foreign specialists employed in Russia will be exempt from the test, however.
An author of the bill, Dmitry Vyatkin of the ruling United Russia party, said the bill might be amended to scrap those requirements for athletes, performers and top managers of large companies investing in the Russian economy.
According to the country’s Federal Migration Service, some 14 million foreign citizens arrive in Russia every year, about one-third with the goal of finding jobs.