Language Test Proposed for 2-Year Work Visa

Two senators are proposing legislation that would allow foreigners to receive two-year work permits if they can pass a Russian-language test.

Applicants would need to demonstrate "survival-level" Russian to obtain the work permits, said Federation Council Deputy Speaker Alexander Torshin, Interfax reported.

Torshin said the language test, which would be voluntary, was included in amendments to the law "On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation" that he and Senator Vladimir Slutsker have prepared for the State Duma.

The Federal Migration Service now grants one-year work permits to foreigners and has no requirement for a language test.

Slutsker said applicants would need to know 780 Russian words to pass the test, Interfax reported.

Foreigners also would need to be able to read a text of 250 to 300 words, deliver a brief monologue in Russian and write a short text, Kommersant reported last week.

The amendments are meant to encourage the study of the Russian language, the newspaper said.

To facilitate the learning, the bill's authors want to organize Russian classes in foreign student centers at universities where employers can send foreigner workers to study at the companies' expense.