Federal lawmakers have drafted a bill that would ban children of foreign migrants from schools and kindergartens if their parents do not pay taxes in Russia.
The bill's authors — Alexei Zhuravlyov of United Russia and Liberal Democrat Sergei Zhigarev — say the deficit of spots in kindergartens and schools for Russian children stems in part from the "growth in the number of children of migrants from the CIS and Central Asia."
Only 58 percent of Russian children "have the opportunity" to attend kindergartens, a note attached to the bill said. Children of migrants account for 4 to 10 percent of all kindergarten pupils, according to unidentified experts and agencies cited in the note.
The bill would oblige migrants to provide a reference from the Federal Tax Service confirming that they paid taxes during the whole period of their stay in Russia.
In 2011, Moscow schools and kindergartens were attended by 28,000 children who did not have Russian citizenship, and 15,000 of them did not know the Russian language, then-deputy Moscow mayor and currently Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said at the time.
Almost 16 million migrants came to Russia last year and only 1.34 million of them received work permits, business ombudsman Boris Titov said in September.
Russia has seen a rise in anti-migrant sentiment in recent months, and immigration has become one of the most politically charged issues in the country. In a poll conducted in August by the employment website Superjob.ru, just 6 percent of those surveyed said they thought that migrant workers represented a boon for the Russian economy, compared to 17 percent in 2007.
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday chimed in on the topic, saying the government should determine certain spheres in which migrants were not allowed to work.
“From the standpoint of economic interests of the country, in certain industries it really is difficult to do without manpower from the outside, but in other areas it is entirely possible to replace outside workers with local citizens … in retail, for instance,” Putin said at a United Russia meeting, Interfax reported.
Migrants are especially needed in the construction industry and certain other spheres, Putin said.