Thank you, Chair. On behalf of the portfolio committee, it gives me pleasure today to present to this House the report of our successful study tour to the Russian Federation. The objectives of the tour were, among others, to learn how best to integrate and attract highly skilled professionals into our country; to focus on immigration policies, particularly in relation to asylum seekers and border management; and also to learn how Russia manages the inflow and outflow of migrants.
From the tour we observed, among other things, that the Russian Federation tracks refugees by recording their biometric features and requiring them to report when they move. It enforces statutory penalties against employers who employ illegal migrants. The Russian government has measures in place to integrate migrants into society, such as language courses. Foreigners who open small shops in Russia have to ensure that their employees are Russian citizens.
The federation has developed an asylum-seeker policy that includes, among other features, temporary accommodation centres for asylum seekers; being able to apply for refugee status while outside the Russian Federation, at the port of entry; within Russia, at the Federation Migration Service offices throughout the country; the automatic provision of travel documents to be able to travel outside the country; and refugees being allowed to obtain employment, become entrepreneurs and attain social security and benefits just like Russian citizens.
There is strong collaboration between the Federal Migration Service and various migrant communities, including religious organisations, to prevent conflict occurring among citizens. There is also established co-operation between the different national ministries, departments and NGOs on migration issues. The state Duma indicated a desire to strengthen its collaboration with the South African Parliament on these and other key issues as part of ongoing relations through Brics.
Russia shares notable similarities with our country in historical and migration challenges. South Africa, in considering a more risk- and state security-conscious model for migration into the country, has much to learn from its international counterparts. Russia has also made it easier for migrants, needed to stimulate its economy, to enter through official means, such as various permits. With such insight gathered, the task of balancing security with the equal imperative for economic development and regional integration can be pursued.
As a leader in its respective region, South Africa, like Russia, has a role to consider the broader implications of a migration policy. Security, economic development and globalisation, trade, tourism, investment, education and labour, among others, should be considered.
The lessons learnt from the Russian study tour provide a broader perspective and examples of best practice in migration policy that will prove invaluable to the Members of Parliament involved as South Africa moves towards formulating its more comprehensive overarching migration policy in the coming year.
Chairperson, that is the report of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs. [Applause.]
There was no debate.