Checks of foreigners in Belarus: they need to submit work certificate

Nadezhda Listopadova with sons

Nadezhda Listopadova, a resident of an agro-town in the Zelva district, Hrodna region, has Russian citizenship, but she has been living in Belarus for the last 11 years and has three children. The woman claims that she is threatened with expulsion to Russia if in the near future she does not submit an employment certificate to the migration department.

Last year, Nadezhda Listopadova worked for six months in the Zelva Agricultural Cooperative “Dabrasyaletsky”. She also handicrafts, recently registered a private enterprise for decorative items.

“This month I have received a message from the local citizenship and migration group that I have to confirm where and how much I worked in 2018, otherwise I will be deprived of a residence permit. There has never been anything like this before,” Nadezhda complains.

According to her, it’s difficult to get a job in the village, and can’t work much with three children. She adds that she would choose only to care for children at all if her husband’s salary would allow for it. The husband of Nadezhda receives about 400 rubles a month working at the collective farm. At the same time, the eldest son is in college, and the two youngest are already attending school.

“In the citizenship and migration department I asked a question, where the children would stay, if my residence permit was canceled. They said: the children were born in Belarus, so they will live here. What is this about?” the woman said.

Nadezhda notes: it’s not a problem to get a certificate, but the fact that they are demanding that she does it is unacceptable to her.

Meanwhile, in the citizenship and migration group of the Zelva Internal Affairs Department was told that they were not going to urgently send Ms Listopadova out, the relevant procedure was not started. She was simply asked to bring a certificate “within the next month or two.”

“In November-December 2018, strict control of foreigners began: who works, who doesn’t, but still has a residence permit. If they do not prove they have a legitimate source of income within six months, the residence permit is revoked. To avoid this, you should bring a certificate of salary from last year — all foreigners do this. They were checked before, but now the checks have intensified,” said Volha Skiba from the Zelva Internal Affairs Department.

As for the situation with Nadezhda Listopadova, Volha claims that she was not sent a message that the procedure for revocation of her residence permit had been initiated.

“It seems she simply does not want to visit the departments. The tax inspectorate also became interested in her, because Ms Listopadova is an individual entrepreneur, she is engaged in handicraft activities, and she is to pay income tax. Even if it does not bring a certificate, I can print the data from our database, but they are incomplete. For a more precise control, all foreigners are now asked to submit references from the place of work. For example, in Minsk, problems do not arise, people bring it,” says Skiba.

According to paragraph 6 of Part 1 of Art. 57 of the Law “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons in the Republic of Belarus, if a person does not have a legal source of income that would provide him and his family with a living minimum for the past six months, the residence permit may be annulled. At the same time, the period in which a person must submit a certificate of employment is not specified by law.

“In other countries, they also demand to provide information on the income that a person has to live on, this is not surprising. That is, such a requirement, in principle, fits into the framework of the law. But, naturally, each individual case should be examined in detail,” said human rights activist Valyantsin Stefanovich.

By the way, the rules for Belarusians in Russia are similar: to extend the residence permit, you need a similar document confirming the working status of a person. It is also possible to submit a bank statement.

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