Certain issues governing refugee status in Russia

Lioudmila V. Ivankova, Goverment of Moscow

Russia's appeal to illegal migrants can be attributed to its open borders, liberal laws, weak controls over the stay of foreign citizens in its territory, and relatively high living standards of the public. Over three million illegal migrants currently arrive illegally in Russia, according to estimates. Under certain conditions, many of those migrants may apply for asylum to obtain legal status. Well-established criminal groups, composed of both Russian and foreign citizens, have taken shape over the past 15 years in and out of Russia, focusing on the delivery of migrants into the Russian Federation and other developed nations. In recent years, individuals and entities have emerged which assist expatriates in legitimizing their presence by obtaining asylum in Russia. To this end, they supply expatriates with cover stories and fake documents to "verify" their identity and even "document" prosecution in their native land. However, Russian laws still fail to prescribe any punishment for such behavior which is deemed a highly punishable crime in other states. Upon its accession in 1992 to the UN Convention of 1951 and the Minutes thereto of 1967 regarding refugee status, the Russian Federation undertook to accept persons who apply for refugee status, to examine their applications and to safeguard their rights if they are deemed to be refugees. The key provisions of the Convention and the Minutes are set forth in Law "On Refugees" which was adopted in February 1993. This paved the way for establishing immigration legislation as a new segment of Russian law.

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Presented in Session 70: Migration Policies