Russia Host to 800,000 Armenian Migrant Workers

Head of Armenia’s State Migration Service Gagik Yeganyan

YEREVAN (Arka)—There are an estimated 800,000 Armenian migrant laborers and members of their families living in Russia today, head of Armenia’s State Migration Service Gagik Yeganyan said in comments regarding recent changes in Russian immigration laws.

Amendments to Russia’s laws about immigration and the legal status of foreign citizens came into force in the beginning of this year. According to the amendments, citizens from visa-free countries – such as Armenia – are allowed to stay in Russia for 90 days during every 180-day period.

The head of Armenia’s State Migration Service said Russia accounts for 96 percent of temporary emigration from Armenia, totaling 80,000 people who leave Armenia in the beginning of spring and are back in late autumn every year.

Long-term emigrants to Russia, who live there for a year or more, make up 70 percent of all Armenian emigrants. Together, there are about 800,000 Armenian migrant workers in Russia, Yeganyan told Arka news agency.

Yeganyan said Armenian tourists are still allowed to stay in Russia for 90 days without a visa. Emigrants leaving for a job can obtain a work permit for a certain fee. Foreign citizens who are in Russia for education can easily get a study permit, Yeganyan said.

On January 22, Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian said changes may occur to Russia’s migration laws for Armenian citizens while negotiating accession to the Customs Union.

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