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MissAnnElk
10-09-2008, 14:32
Disease Tests Enforced for Expats
10 September 2008
By Anna Malpas / Staff Writer

http://www.moscowtimes.ru/article/600/42/370790.htm

The Federal Migration Service has abruptly canceled an informal arrangement that allowed hundreds of foreigners to avoid mandatory tests for leprosy, syphilis and four other diseases when applying for work permits.

The migration service has required foreigners to be tested for the six diseases HIV, chlamydia, chancre, tuberculosis, syphilis and leprosy since July 2005. But after intense lobbying by the American Chamber of Commerce, it relaxed the rule in late 2005 for the group's more than 800 member companies, requiring their foreign staff to take only HIV tests.

The chamber said Tuesday that an agreement with the Federal Migration Service had been struck down by the Health and Social Development Ministry.

Ending the arrangement promises to create a major headache for hundreds of companies, and the additional red tape could discourage investors already worried about the global economic turndown.

Migration officials announced the change in notices posted this week on the walls of its offices around Moscow, said Alexei Filippenkov, director of Visa Delight, an agency that helps companies obtain work permits.

The notice says all work permit applicants need to provide all medical certificates from Monday, said Yulia Barbash, a specialist at Vista Foreign Business Support.

The American Chamber of Commerce said that it would push for a return to the relaxed testing regime.

"What happened is that the Health Ministry overruled the Federal Migration Service," Andrew Somers, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, said Tuesday evening. "The chamber will make every effort to restore the status quo because we consider this requirement to be inconsistent with international standards."

A spokeswoman for the Federal Migration Service declined to comment and referred all questions to the Health and Social Development Ministry. Questions sent by fax at the ministry's request went unanswered Tuesday.

In addition to the six diseases, all foreigners will now be required to take a test for drug addiction, the migration service said in the notice.

The agreement with the American Chamber of Commerce was unofficial and based on talks between Somers and the Federal Migration Service, Filippenkov said. "If you read the law regarding permits, you will find that there are no exceptions for anyone or any organization," he said.

"You need to just go to Mr. Somers and ask him, 'How did you do it?' and 'Please do it again,'" Filippenkov added, joking.

Signs of a reversal had been looming. Filippenkov said one of his client companies, a member of the American Chamber of Commerce, was inspected by the Federal Migration Service two months ago and denied work permits for four employees until they provided the full range of medical certificates.

It was unclear whether the change would be applied retroactively.

"We hope that if these demands continue, at the very least there will be an agreement that [HIV] certificates issued earlier will be accepted," Barbash said. Some of her agency's clients have submitted only HIV certificates and are now abroad.

Under the rules, applicants must be tested in private or state clinics in Russia or, if they do the tests abroad, get the results translated into Russian and notarized. But test results issued in 25 countries, including Italy, Finland, the Baltic states and China, are not accepted.

kirk10071
10-09-2008, 16:42
Of course, it's all retaliatory. I'll think of Putin when they are doing my anal swab for Chlamydia. Up until now, I was on Russia's side in all this.

xSnoofovich
10-09-2008, 17:18
What about cutting the chicken imports from America as well?

J.D.
10-09-2008, 19:55
It's not retaliation. Just some technical difficulties.
Did you think that only oil pipe lines have technical difficulties?

kirk10071
10-09-2008, 20:34
What about cutting the chicken imports from America as well?

That, too, despite what they said. I read the article about it in Izvestia. It was pretty clear what is going on there. Izvestia is so transparent in its pettiness and smugness. It's so funny when they suggest that (a) our food is diseased and (b) we are diseased. They hit the areas where Russian's themselves know that this country fails (health care being one) in order to say "Hey, it's worse in the West and they are very dirty over there." The chicken article cited no objective standards other than to say "we tested it and it had all kinds of filth in it." It wasn't even news; it was just nastiness. I have read Soviet propaganda since the early 80s. I know whereof I speak when it comes to the tone of Kremlin mouthpieces such as Izvestia.

The fact is that if I have some horrible disease, it will not be one I brought to Russia but one I got IN Russia, and quite possibly in a Russian hospital.

But I don't care. Russia wants to humiliate me for an afternoon, then Russia will humiliate me for an afternoon. I know that I can pay $200 at the door and get my certificate without anyone touching me. In fact, Russia doesn't really care if I have a disease, knows that if anyone has AIDS, it is far more likely to be a local than an American. And the medical workers couldn't care less if I am dying as long as I give them a few thousand rubles in an envelope. And I don't care either because I wouldn't bother to pick up a measely $200 if I saw it lying in the street.

Thus, in the absense of justification for a stupid law, nobody involved will respect it and the whole thing can be solved with a litte money and a willingness for dishonesty on all sides. After all, the real goal of the law is to humiliate Westerners and to make some sort of sham point to the villagers out there. The doctors know it, so for $200 I get humiliated (I have to pay) and the doctor can make a little off my humiliation instead of having to give me the rectal exam that he doesn't want to give me either. And we all know I don't have VD, so nobody loses and Putin goes to bed at night knowing that some foriegner either had an anal swabbing or a fleecing by his institutional corruption. And the villagers can sit back fat and drunk in the false impression that it's worse in Ohio than it is in Podarsk.