Russia: Immigration Bulletin – Foreign Workers Obliged to Demonstrate Russian Language Skills
On the 1st of December 2012 changes to the Federal Law – FL-115 “On the status of Foreign Citizens in Russia” and to FL “On Education’’ will come into force, and introduce a new requirement that CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan) citizens wishing to work in Russia in housing and communal services, retail and household services must provide proof of their Russian language skills.
Thus, in order to receive Work Permits CIS nationals will be required to present to the Federal Migration Service a Russian language skills certificate which would state that they have basic Russian language knowledge. In order to receive the Certificate they will have to pass a Russian language test. Otherwise, they can provide educational document confirming completion of a 9-year study at school, where the Russian language course was part of the program, and complement this with the notarized translation into Russian. Also educational documents issued on the territory of the former USSR before the 1st of September 1991 or in Russia after this date will be accepted as a substitute for the Russian language skills certificate. Citizens of CIS countries, where Russian is a state language will not be required to provide proof of their Russian language skills.
The Law does not clarify the procedure of the exam or any other details with regards to its content. It still to be clarified where the exam should be taken and whether there will be facilities established for candidates to prepare for it. At the moment two Russian universities provide testing services for Russian citizenship applicants, these are Lomonosov Moscow State University and Pushkin Russian Language state University.
This policy to promote the Russian language knowledge among foreigners working in Russia is aimed at CIS citizens working in specific areas of housing and communal services and it is highly unlikely that it will influence the conditions of work for those immigrating to Russia as highly qualified professionals or foreigners from visa countries.
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