Moscow migrant workers to get new IDs

Media Center » Video Immigration News

New IDs, which will also serve as a work permit, have been announced by Moscow authorities. The magnetic plastic cards will hold passport and medical information and will function as a migrant's primary document in the Russian capital.

The new cards were announced by Yevgeny Chernetsov, the head of the labor exchange of the Moscow Committee on Interregional Ties and Ethnic Policy. The plan was first announced by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov last year.

The card will feature a special microchip containing data on the foreign worker and are valid for three months after initial arrival of the migrant in Moscow. If the migrant gets a job within that period, the validation will be prolonged for one year.

"Those [migrants] who are already living and working officially in Moscow will be able to get the card in any of 126 territorial branches of Russian Migration Service," Chernetsov said.

Applicants for the card will be required to pay a deposit that will be held in the event that the migrant cannot pay their own way back home. Currently, the government foots the bill. Chernetsov said the price could be approximately $500.

The card will be mandatory -- migrant workers in Moscow will be unable to register without one.

The cards are part of an effort by Moscow to crack down on illegal immigration. The city plans to reduce its migrant worker quota significantly -- from 750,000 to 250,000 -- for workers from countries that require a visa to enter, and from 60,000 to 50,000 for countries that have a visa-free regime with Russia.

The news has drawn criticism from Russia's Federal Migration Service, which feels that the planned quota will lead to a labor shortage and increase illegal immigration.