Thousands of pregnant Russian women flying to Argentina for citizenship

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London, Feb 12

More than 5,000 pregnant Russian women have entered Argentina in recent months, media reported.

The latest arrivals were all in the final weeks of pregnancy, according to the national migration agency, BBC reported.

It is believed the women want to make sure their babies are born in Argentina to obtain Argentinian citizenship, BBC reported.

The number of arrivals has increased recently, which local media suggests is a result of the war in Ukraine.

Of the 33 women who arrived in the Argentinian capital on one flight on Thursday, three were detained because of "problems with their documentation", joining three more who arrived the previous day, migration agency head Florencia Carignano told La Nacion.

The Russian women had initially claimed they were visiting Argentina as tourists, she said.

"In these cases, it was detected that they did not come here to engage in tourism activities. They acknowledged it themselves."

She said the Russian women wanted their children to have Argentinian citizenship because it gave more freedom than a Russian passport, BBC reported.

"The problem is that they come to Argentina, sign up their children as Argentinean and leave. Our passport is very secure across the world. It allows [passport-holders] to enter 171 countries visa-free," Carignano said, BBC reported.

Having an Argentine child also speeds up the citizenship process for parents. As it stands, Russians can travel visa-free to only 87 countries.

La Nacion attributed the dramatic uptick in arrivals of Russian citizens to the war in Ukraine, saying that "besides fleeing war and their country's health service, [Russian women] are attracted by their [right of] visa-free entry to Argentina, as well as by the high-quality medicine and variety of hospitals".

"Birth tourism" by Russian citizens to Argentina appears to be a lucrative and well-established practice.

A Russian-language website offers various packages for expecting mothers who wish to give birth in Argentina. The website advertises services such as personalised birth plans, airport pick-ups, Spanish lessons and discounts on the cost of stays in "the best hospitals in the Argentinian capital", BBC reported.

--IANS

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