By Duncan Mackay

Russia visaNovember 29 - A new law is expected to come into force in Russia soon that will make it easier for foreigners to be volunteers at Sochi 2014.

The Russian Federation Council - the country's Upper House - has approved the Bill to simplify visa procedure for foreign volunteers to work at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. 

It just needs the signature of Russian President Vladimir Putin to be it be passed into law.

The legislation should halve the time needed to process a visa for the as yet unknown portion of the 25,000 volunteers to come from abroad.

Sochi 2014 had announced last February the volutneer recrutiment programme. 

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 80 is eligible to apply. 

For foreign nationals, the application will be reviewed by the staff of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee either in Moscow or Sochi.

Many of the positions require a personal interview in Moscow or Sochi, as well as a test of Russian language knowledge.

The volunteers  will also need to undergo several training sessions, including courses on the development of personal qualities and necessary skills, games, adoption of policies and regulations of work, orientation of the venues, among others.

But, unlike London 2012, accommodation will be provided for volunteers in specially constructed apartment houses.

In addition Sochi 2014 will pay for volunteers' food, provide them with uniforms and transport them to and from their places of work.

Sochi claim that they have to provide the incentives because, unlike London, most of the volunteers are expected to be from outside the host city.

They are also expected to be younger.

The average age-band of the London 2012 Gamesmakers was between 29 and 40 while in Sochi it is set to be between 17 and 22. 

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