“Such Cases” and the Civic Assistance Committee continue to dismantle the myths about migrants. HSE anthropologist Ekaterina Demintseva refutes the misconception that foreigners enjoy numerous Russian benefits and explains why it would be better for all of us if this were true.
Many people imagine that a migrant comes to the country and then receives benefits for years. But it does not happen.
Migrants can use social services for citizens – but, like other citizens of the country, they must “deserve” some kind of social services and have reasons for receiving them. If migrants are not citizens, do not have many years of work experience and some special needs (for example, disability, having many children), the state cannot provide them with benefits.
Migrants who have formal contracts with employers, as well as citizens of the country, pay taxes. These taxes also cover the costs of social services. But often neither the migrants themselves nor even their employers know about this.
Some social services for migrants can reduce risks for the host society. Access to free medical examinations can reveal many diseases that are dangerous to others (such as tuberculosis) at an early stage. It is public school which is the main tool for migrant children to adapt into the host society. Successful integration into the host society reduces the risks of the emergence of radical people from migrant backgrounds.
For over 30 years, Committee of Civic Assistance has been helping migrants who find themselves in difficult situations. At the end of 2011, human rights defenders launched the Hate Crimes project where the organization provides free legal and humanitarian assistance to victims of violent hate crimes.