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ARGENTINA | 11-02-2023 15:27

Russian mums-to-be flock to Argentina seeking safety, passports

More than 30 expecting Russian mothers arrived in Buenos Aires on a single international flight on Thursday evening, the latest among thousands of mums-to-be who are travelling Argentina to give birth.

More than 30 expecting Russian mothers arrived in Buenos Aires on a single international flight on Thursday evening, the latest among thousands of mums-to-be fleeing the economic effects of the war in Ukraine and seeking out stronger passports in Argentina.

Thirty-three Russian women appearing to be in their third trimester of pregnancy arrived on the same flight into Buenos Aires’ international airport on Thursday, Florencia Carignano, Argentina’s National Director of Immigration told the local TN news channel on Friday.

Argentina has seen an influx of Russian immigration since August as migrants flee President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and western sanctions that have throttled the economy. 

“The amount is really quite striking,” Carignano said. “Of the 10,500 Russians that entered Argentina in the last year, over half of them have been pregnant women that have entered in the last three months.”

The country doesn’t require visas for Russian tourists, incentivising the expectant mothers to enter in search of healthcare and citizenship for their children. An Argentine passport gives its holder access to 170 countries, according to the Henley Passport Index.

Argentina automatically grants birthright citizenship to children born in the country, and is one of the easiest countries in the world to become naturalised. Most foreign nationals can apply for citizenship after just two years of residency.

Russia’s Embassy in Buenos Aires didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While the majority of the women have been granted entry as tourists, six women who were traveling alone were halted in recent days on suspicion of “false tourism” because they didn’t have correct documentation, or lacked return flights, Carignano said. 

Those women have remained at Argentina’s Ezeiza International Airport and are in the care of the airline, according to Carignano.

“We’re delighted to welcome those that are coming to settle and raise their children in Argentina,” Carignano said. “The problem we’re seeing with some people is that they’re coming here, having their children and marking them down as Argentines, and then leaving never to come back.”

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by Patrick Gillespie, Bloomberg

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