In search of new citizens: As natural population declines, Putin signs law simplifying the process to become Russian
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a long-awaited law, streamlining the process for a foreigner to obtain Russian citizenship, as the country seeks to attract up to 10 million migrants by 2025.
According to the new rules, it is now much more straightforward for certain groups of foreigners to become Russian. Foreign citizens who have a Russian parent, are married to a Russian, or have a child with a Russian citizen, can now quickly obtain a passport themselves. The acquisition of Russian nationality has also been streamlined for foreigners who reside permanently in the country.
In April, the Russian parliament passed a revolutionary law allowing foreigners to become Russian citizens without giving up existing passports. Along with a simplified process, the country hopes that the updated conditions of obtaining citizenship will help attract millions of new Russians. As things stand, the natural population of the world's biggest country is slowly declining. In 2018, the number of Russian nationals fell for the first time in a decade. This trend continued into 2019, as deaths outnumbered births by over 250,000.
For nationals of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Ukraine, as well as former citizens of the USSR, the process has been simplified even further. People in this category no longer need to reside in Russia for three years prior to application. In 2019, Putin implemented an even more straightforward process for residents of the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine.
In February, Konstantin Zatulin, a member of the working group responsible for updating Russia's migration law, explained that changing the law would mean “passportizing the diaspora abroad.” The working group hopes to attract between five to 10 million new citizens by 2025, as the country seeks to broaden migration for the benefit of the Russian economy.
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On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova announced that Russia was looking to change its migration system “in favor of high-quality migration” to attract “very qualified personnel to the country.”
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