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Opinions & Interviews

30 Jan 2015

Migration service: Belarus offers practical assistance to Ukrainians

VITEBSK, 30 January (BelTA) – Belarus has responded to the plight of Ukrainians not in word, but in deed, head of the citizenship and migration department of Vitebsk Oblast Tatyana Romashova told BelTA commenting on one of the topics raised during the open dialogue of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko with mass media.

Tatyana Romashova noted that a testimony to that is Decree No. 420 “Concerning the stay of Ukrainian nationals in the Republic of Belarus” as of 30 August 2014.

Initially a great number of migrants had applied for the refugee status, because otherwise they needed a special permit to get a job. In other words, before the decree came into force, Ukrainian nationals, just like citizens of other countries, who have no relatives in Belarus, could settle in the country only if they found a job. However, employers had to pay a Br750,000 fee for the issuance of the special permit and they were reluctant to do so. Decree No. 420 exempted Ukrainian citizens arriving from Donetsk Oblast and Lugansk Oblast from paying the fees for getting permissions for temporary and permanent stay, the fees for the issuance of the residence permit and medical certificates needed to apply for these permits. Besides, employers hiring Ukrainian nationals were exempt from paying the fee for getting the special permit. As a result, the number of Ukrainian nationals applying for the refugee status decreased dramatically, but the number of migrant workers getting the special permit increased. Ukrainian nationals received 63% of all special permits issued in 2014, Tatyana Romashova informed.

In 2014 more foreign nationals came to Vitebsk Oblast; many of them were Ukrainians. Temporary stay (or a one-year residence permit) was granted to over 7,000 foreigners; Ukrainians made up 22% of them. The residence permit was granted to 2,700 foreigners; Ukrainians accounted for 36% of them. “Even in the busiest time, in the summer and autumn, when the number of applications increased dramatically, we managed to keep the situation under control, together with the labor, employment and social security committee, so that people could feel our assistance and support,” she noted.

According to Tatyana Romashova, the situation has stabilized; there are no queues in the citizenship and migration services. Internal migration has become more pronounced: people are looking for better places of work and stay.

 

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