Large investors, alumni of Russian universities to enjoy easier naturalization – newspaper

File Photo of Man Placing Stack of Large Bills into Inside Pocket of Suitcoat

MOSCOW. Feb 12 (Interfax) – The Federal Migration Service and the Economic Development Ministry have drawn up a law, which facilitates naturalization of foreign citizens, Kommersant wrote on Wednesday.

The simpler naturalization procedure will be primarily granted to businessmen who invest at least ten million rubles in Russia and foreign alumni of Russian colleges and universities who work in Russia for at least three years, the newspaper said.

Amendments to Article 14 of the Law “On Russian Citizenship” have been discussed in the government and will soon be submitted to the State Duma, Kommersant added.

So far, the simpler naturalization procedure is mostly enjoyed by foreigners who are married to Russian citizens or who were born in the former Soviet Union and are stateless persons.

The new law allows sole proprietors who have worked in Russia for at least three years to aspire for Russian citizenship if their yearly revenue exceeds ten million rubles. Investors who hold at least 10% stake in the authorized capital of a Russian legal entity are also eligible for naturalization. The authorized capital must amount to at least 100 million rubles.

Another innovation concerns foreign citizens “who have earned a professional occupation degree since July 1, 2002, and have been working in Russia for three years by the time they file a naturalization request.”

For now the legislation and the draft law do not restrict the employment of foreign students in Russia who regularly have residence permits. So, the draft law makes them eligible for the simpler naturalization procedure even before their graduation.

WorldSkills International Russian Technical Delegate Pavel Chernykh said it could be the question of 2 million college students. “Foreign students amount to 20-25% of the entire student population. As a rule, they are citizens of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Moldova,” Chernykh told the newspaper.

In the opinion of Russian Public Chamber Deputy Secretary Vladislav Grib, this naturalization technique may increase the burden on the state budget because the sums suggested by the draft law are too small compared with the total investment of the country in its new citizen (pension, health insurance and so on).

He told the newspaper the Public Chamber would convene on February 19 to make a public evaluation of the draft law.

Meanwhile, the issue of Russian passports had been growing even before the facilitated naturalization initiative, Kommersant said. Russia naturalized 95,737 people in 2012 and 135,788 in 2013, according to Federal Migration Service statistical reports.