Court overruled illegal ban on entry into Russia for a migrant living with his family

The Smolny district court of St. Petersburg issued the final text of its ruling dated March 13, 2019, which stated that an earlier decision concerning A, a citizen of Uzbekistan, which had banned the latter from entering Russia, was recognized as illegal. The legal interests of A. were represented by attorneys Sergey Mikhaylichenko and Olga Tseitlina with the support of Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial”.

Just like many of his compatriots, A. had regularly come to work from Uzbekistan to Russia for many years and had finally made the decision to move to the Russian Federation, where his eldest son from his first marriage lived, being a citizen of the Russian Federation.

A. became a participant of the Russian government program for resettlement of compatriots, he sold his house and all his property in Uzbekistan. On August 23, 2017 A. applied for a temporary residence permit with the Consular Section of the Embassy of Russia in the Republic of Uzbekistan, based on which the regional department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for the Primorsky region allowed him temporary residence in the Russian Federation starting October 31, 2017.

A. arrived in Russia on October 3, 2017, stayed in the country until the summer of 2018, while occasionally going to Uzbekistan and returning to Russia. Since the total period of his stay in the Russian Federation over a period of six months exceeded 90 days, the regional department for migration of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for St.Petersburg and Leningrad region decided on July 18, 2018 to prohibit A. to enter the Russian Federation for a period of three years. At the time of this decision A. was a participant of the state program for assistance to voluntary re-settlers in the Russian Federation for compatriots living abroad, and lived in his own apartment in St. Petersburg with his wife and his younger son, a student of a St. Petersburg educational institution (this child has health issues and needs constant parental assistance). Thus, when making the decision to ban A.’s entry into the Russian Federation, the migration authorities considered neither A.’s long-term residence in the Russian Federation, nor his marital status, including the fact that his eldest son was a citizen of Russia, nor A.’s desire to become a citizen of the Russian Federation.

The court did not take into account the fact that A. had a valid temporary residence permit and a re-settler status in the Russian Federation. However, the court did refer to the family situation of A., as well as to the priority of international law and the position of the Russian Constitutional Court, which had earlier called respective Russian authorities to avoid formalistic approach when issuing entry bans for foreign citizens whose families and children reside in Russia. The court has satisfied the legal claim of A. and ruled that the earlier decision of the Chief directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for St. Petersburg and Leningrad region was illegal.

The entry ban was considered a disproportionate sentence for exceeding the permitted duration of stay of a migrant in the country. The decision of the Smolny district court prevented the separation of the family, and especially the separation of the father from a child who needed the care and attention of both parents.

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