July 2010 Volume 17 Number 3
Russia, Eastern, Northern Europe
Russia. The government enacted a law in May 2010 that would made it easier for highly skilled foreigners earning at least two million rubles ($67,700) a year to work in Russia. Highly skilled foreigners who have health insurance for themselves and their families can receive renewable three year visas; their income is subject to a 13 percent tax.
Nationals of the ex-USSR can enter Russia without visas and receive one-year work permits to work for registered Russian employers. Foreigners working for Russians in private households or as drivers and cooks are to buy renewable work permits valid for three months; the permits cost 1,000 rubles ($33) a month. By one estimate, some four million migrants were employed in Russian households in 2008.
Violence in Kyrgyzstan that began June 10, 2010 quickly left 400,000 ethnic Uzbeks homeless and sent over 100,000 fleeing to neighboring Uzbekistan. The Kyrgyz government that took office in April 2010 was slow to act; some reports suggest that the Kyrgyz military attacked ethnic Uzbeks, who are about 15 percent of Kyrgyzstan's 5.3 million people. Average wages in Kyrgyzstan were $130 a month in 2010, and remittances from 800,000 migrants in Russia and Kazakhstan are equivalent to 40 percent of GDP.
Sweden. Sweden's population of 9.4 million is growing via immigration; women have average two children each, and immigration exceeds 100,000 a year.
Swedes go to the polls in September 2010, and the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats may get more than five percent of the vote. In some Swedish cities, immigrants are 40 percent of the population and 90 percent in certain neighborhoods, which have names such as "Little Baghdad" or "Little Mogadishu." All of the Scandinavian countries, which have liberal immigration and asylum policies, have anti-migrant political parties? they are strongest in Denmark and Norway.
Hungary. Hungary in June 2010 approved legislation that extends citizenship to those who speak Hungarian and have Hungarian ancestry. Some 150,000 ethnic Hungarians live in western Ukraine, and 300,000 live in northeastern Serbia.