Changes to the Law "Legal Status of Foreign Nationals" in the Russian Federation

On 1 July, 2010 the Federal Law dated 19 May, 2010 #86-FZ “On amendments to the Federal Law “On the legal status of foreign nationals in the Russian Federation” and other normative acts of the Russian Federation” will come into force. Please find below a brief summary of the main changes introduced.

On 1 July, 2010 the Federal Law dated 19 May, 2010 #86-FZ “On amendments to the Federal Law “On the legal status of foreign nationals in the Russian Federation” and other normative acts of the Russian Federation” will come into force. Please find below a brief summary of the main changes introduced:

Highly Qualified Specialists

The above stated Federal Law introduces a new category of foreign national referred to as a “highly qualified specialist”. This new concept is defined as a foreign national (coming to Russia with or without visa) having experience, skills and achievements in a certain sphere and earning 2 000 000 Russian rubles (approximately $68 000) or more per annum.

According to the Regulations the following is applicable to highly qualified specialists:

a) A work permit and an invitation to enter Russia are issued without quotas regularly established by the Russian Government.
b) A work permit is issued for the validity of a concluded employment (civil) contract with an employer inviting such a specialist, but for no more than 3 years.
c) Immigration authorities have to issue a work permit within 14 days of the submission of an application.
d) A work permit can be renewed for three year periods within the validity of an employment (civil) contract.
e) If a highly qualified specialist is planning to work in several regions of Russia, one work permit covering these regions can be issued.
f) The employers will assess themselves the qualification of specialists according to documents/education credentials, references and other information demonstrating professional experience and skills. At the same time a foreign national can declare himself as a highly qualified specialist according to the established procedure.
g) An employer of a highly qualified specialist is required to ensure this individual (as well as his/her family members) be covered by voluntary medical insurance from the first day of entering Russia.
h) An employer is required to file quarterly notifications to the immigration authorities on salary of highly qualified specialists, termination of employment (civil) contracts and in some other particular cases.
i) An employer is required to register highly qualified specialists with the Russian tax authorities and further report the registration to the immigration authorities.
j) Highly qualified specialists and their family members can apply for permanent residence in Russia.

Highly qualified specialists can be employed by:

- Russian commercial entities;
- Russian scientific organizations, educational institutions (except religious institutions);
- medical institutions and other organizations conducting scientific, technical or innovative activities, research projects, the testing and preparation of staff according to state priority areas of science and technology development in the Russian Federation, if it is covered (as required by Law) by state accreditation;
- accredited (as required by Law) branch offices of foreign legal entities in the Russian Federation.

The standard procedure, including applying for employment permission and a work permit is not applicable to the following categories of foreign nationals:
1) Permanent residents in Russia (holders of permanent residence permit);
2) Participants in state programs for the assistance of voluntary relocation of nationals living abroad and their family members wishing to relocate to Russia;
3) Employees of diplomatic corps, consular institutions of foreign states in the Russian Federation and private domestic staff of the above stated individuals;
4) Employees of foreign legal entities (producers or suppliers) hired to assemble and maintain equipment imported into Russia;
5) Journalists accredited in the Russian Federation;
6) Students studying in Russian educational establishments and working on vacations;
7) Students studying in Russian educational establishments and working there as assistant staff in their spare time;
8) Lecturers (tutors) invited by an educational organization (except individuals coming to teach in religious institutions);
9) Employees of accredited (as required by Law) representative offices of foreign legal entities that are within the quota of allocated staff according to bilateral international agreements between Russia and respective jurisdictions.
Other categories of foreign nationals (except highly qualified specialists) should follow standard immigration procedures and make applications within the quotas, file to an Employment Center, obtain employment permission, a work permit, etc.

Employment of Non-visa Foreign Nationals by Russian Individuals

The Federal Law introduces a simplified procedure for the employment of non-visa foreign nationals planning to work in the interests of Russian individuals (except in commercial activities). For such category of foreign national a new license system instead of a work permit is introduced. To obtain a license a foreign national should file an application and pay a sum of 1000 Russian rubles per month. Licenses are valid for period from 1 to 3 months and can be renewed.

Other Amendments

The Federal Law dated 19 May, 2010 #86-FZ introduces particular changes to Tax, Budget Code and other normative acts of the Russian Federation.

Special attention should be paid to amendments of Article 23 of the Federal Law dated 18 July 2006 # 109-FZ “On the immigration recording of foreign nationals and stateless individuals in the Russian Federation”. Beginning 1 July, 2010 the termination of the existing immigration registration of foreign nationals traveling within Russia is processed automatically upon registration in a new location in Russia.

This legal alert notifies clients of TIM Services and other parties concerned of legislative changes as may have a bearing upon operations and be of special interest. This legal alert is not a legal opinion proper, nor may it replace the need of legal consultation in any specific instance.

AUTHOR: Marina Gordeeva

Copyright TIM Services
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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