Immigration authorities in Argentina are cracking down on Russian women who since the invasion of Ukraine have started travelling to Buenos Aires to give birth in order to gain Argentinian citizenship for their children.
The director of Argentina’s immigration office, Florencia Carignano, said on Friday that a judicial investigation has been launched into what she described as a lucrative business that promises Argentinian passports for the Russian parents.
Carignano spoke after 33 expecting women – all between 32 and 34 weeks into their pregnancies – arrived on the same flight late on Thursday. Several of the women were initially turned away at passport control but were eventually let into the country.
While the concept of birth tourism isn’t new, Moscow’s isolation from the west as a result of the war has made Argentina, where Russians face no visa requirements, a popular destination for families looking to give their children the privileges of second citizenship.
Some 10,500 pregnant Russians have arrived in the South American country in the past year, Carignano said.
Carignano said in a Telenueve channel interview on Friday that “5,800 of them [were] in the last three months, many of them declaring they were in the 33rd or 34th week of pregnancy.”
The official said that about 7,000 of the women returned home after giving birth, leaving Argentinian lawyers charged with applying for Argentinian citizenship for the baby – and then the parents.
“The problem is that they arrive, have their children and then leave Argentina never to come back,” Carignano said.
“We cannot allow them to shamelessly lie to us saying that they are tourists when they are not.”
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