New developments in migration policy: temporary residence permit for educational purposes
Migration policy is an important part of the internationalization strategy in all countries that occupy the top ranks in foreign students teaching rankings, such as Australia, Canada, Singapore, Germany, etc.
For example, in 2018, more than 721 thousand foreign people studied in Canada. Since most international students are young, have a Canadian diploma and demanded work skills, and speak the official languages of Canada, authorities believe they are perfect candidates for permanent residence. In 2018, about 54 thousand graduates became permanent residents of Canada. The strategy of higher education internationalization in Canada is entirely based on the qualities that have made this country a preferred destination for foreign students, such as high-quality education in English and French, hospitable and diverse communities with high life quality, career opportunities and the possibility to get permanent residence [1].
In recent years, Russia has also made changes to the migration policy regarding foreign students. For instance, in 2020, the government made amendments to the Federal Law No. 115-FZ "On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation" that simplify the procedure of foreign students employment in Russia (Federal Law No.16-FZ of 06.02.20201). According to these amendments, full-time and part-time students receive the right to get employed without a patent or work permit.
And in July 2022, the government adopted the Federal Law No.357-FZ of 14.07.2022 "On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation" and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation"2. A bit later, on December 14th, 2022, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation issued the Order No. 949 "On approval of the administrative regulation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation on the provision of state services for the issuance of temporary residence permits to foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Russian Federation for educational purposes"3.
These regulatory legal acts introduce a new mode of stay in Russia for foreign citizens. Now foreign students can get a temporary residence permit for educational purposes.
This service is not for everyone, however. One must meet the following requirements:
  • study in a state educational or scientific organization;
  • study full-time;
  • study under a state-certified undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, residency or assistantship program.
Thus, foreign citizens getting further vocational education as well as studying part-time cannot get this permit.
Unlike the usual temporary permit, this one is issued for the period of study and lasts 180 days after graduation.
The list of documents required for obtaining the permit is small:
  1. An application
  2. An applicant's identity document
  3. Two photos
  4. Documents confirming that the applicant has no criminal record
  5. Documents confirming the applicant's enrollment in a state educational or scientific organization
Documents drawn up in a foreign language must have notarized Russian translation.
Applicants must have these documents as well and can submit them optionally:
  1. Migration card
  2. Medical report proving that the applicant did not use illicit substances
  3. Medical report that the applicant has (does not have) contagious diseases that pose a danger to others
  4. Certificate proving the applicant does not bear a disease caused by human immunodeficiency virus
  5. A document confirming the payment of the state fee
The maximum period for registration of the permit is 38 working days.
Having this temporary permit can lift a great weight from a foreign student's shoulders: you will not have to prolongate the visa every year, get a registration at the place o temporary stay, meeting all the requirements and deadlines for notifying the authorities about the residence change. Plus, as I have mentioned above, the permit is valid for another 180 days after graduation. While this permit is active, you can enroll to the next level program or obtain a permanent residence permit.
The holder of such permit gets the right to use the obligatory medical insurance in a hospital at the place of residence and receive Russian social benefits.
Unlike the holders of a usual temporary residence permit, foreign students will not have to confirm that they live in Russia every year.
However, even though the process is relatively simple, there are a few aspects that make getting the permit difficult and reduce its positive effect.
The very first issue that foreign citizens have is getting a certificate proving they have no criminal record. Not all countries offer the opportunity to receive it online: some require the applicant's personal presence. Sending this document by post takes a lot of time, and express delivery sometimes is not an option with all the restrictions in the work of companies that carry out postal shipments to Russia. In addition, official documents and acts issued in other countries have to be apostilled and legalized, and they are only valid for 3 months. So, in order to get this certificate, many foreign students have to spend lots of money on air tickets and go to the country of issue for quite a long time, which can have a bad effect on their learning performance in the full-time study mode.
Secondly, only full-time students can get this permit, although the migration legislation equalizes full-time and composite study modes.
Thirdly, the law does not provide for the extension of the validity period of the permit, therefore, in order to continue getting the next degree, you will need to receive the permit again.
Fourthly, the requirements for the place of residence of a foreign citizen remain: it must be the exact Russian region where the permit was issued. If a student is transferred from a university of another region, this must be approved additionally.
Summing up what has been said, in order for the temporary residence permit for educational purposes to bring real benefit, it is necessary to refine it and lift some strict requirements for obtaining it.
Source list:
1) Building On Success: International Education Strategy 2019–2024
Elena Odintsova
Ms Odintsova graduated from Bunin Elets State University, specialization "Teacher of Russian language, literature and foreign language". From 2006 to 2010 studied under Russian language Postgraduate program in her Alma Mater. Defended her Ph.D. thesis in 2014. Elena worked as the ElSU Rector's assistant for international relations up to October 2022. From 2015 to 2022, she also managed the organization of additional educational programs of Russian as a Foreign Language, combining administrative work and educational activities. In July 2022, Ms Odintsova received the academic title of Docent with the major in Russian language and the languages of peoples of Russia.
Starting from December 2022, Elena works as head of the RUSS Center for International Education.
Elena Odintsova is an independent expert of the commission of the Lipetsk Regional Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for recognizing foreign citizens as native Russian language speakers.