Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a government-proposed law, stipulating tougher rules for requiring Russian citizenship.
Under the new law that have been passed by both chambers of the parliament, those who apply for Russian citizenship should spend at least five years instead of three years previously in Russia, pass a Russian language exam and have a job to receive citizenship.It also demands that applicants reject the citizenship of other nations to become Russian citizens.
It also envisages that immigrants from other former Soviet republics will have to follow standard rules for seeking Russian citizenship and be deprived of privileges they had enjoyed since the 1991 Soviet disintegration.
Putin, speaking at a Monday meeting with cabinet members, said the new law should "regulate immigration in the interests of the Russian citizen, but, at the same time, not shut the door on our ethnic kin."
The law's supporters said the existing rules were too lax, encouraged illegal migration and fueled crime, while critics claimed that the new legislation would exacerbate Russia's population decline by stalling immigration.