Russian companies—or foreign companies based in Russia—who wish to hire foreign workers must adhere to Russia’s immigration laws regarding work permits and visas. Depending on the classification of the foreign worker, the employer may need to apply for permission to hire the worker and will have to secure a Russia work permit and visa.
Categories of Foreign Employees
Requirements for hiring a non-Russian employee differ according to the employee’s immigration status. Generally, foreign workers will need a Russia work permit and a work visa, but not all workers are subject to the same regulations. Employee classifications include:
- Regular foreign employees with visa. Any foreign worker who requires a visa to enter Russia must obtain a visa and a work permit, and employers are required to obtain permission to hire them. Workers in this category must provide a certificate verifying their knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history, and a basic knowledge of the Russian judicial system. Employers are subject to work permit quotas for this type of employee.
- Regular foreign employees, non-visa. Workers entering from a country that is not required to have a visa, such as a CIS nation, must now obtain a patent to work in Russia. Work patents will give the right to work in a particular Russian region for up to 12 months (renewable once), free from any quotas.
- Foreign employees from Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) countries. Workers entering from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, or Kyrgyzstan are permitted to work in Russia without a work permit or patent.
- Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS). This special category applies to workers who offer certain professional skills and earn a particular salary. While these workers are still required to obtain a work permit, the application process is simplified and their employers are not subject to quotas.
What Employers Must Do
Any company in Russia that plans to hire foreign workers must obtain permission to hire such workers and must apply for a quota for work permits each year before the deadline to do so. A company that employs foreign workers must notify the Federal Migration Service office of all hiring or dismissal of foreign employees within three business days from the day of signing or termination of the labor agreement, or is subject to fines up to $15,000 US.
Highly Qualified Specialists will enjoy a simplified process for securing a Russia work permit and their employers will not be subject to a limit on the number of work permits they can get. In addition, HQS employees do not have to demonstrate proficiency in Russian language, history, or law. The primary qualification for being considered a specialist is a salary of not less than $30,000 US per year.
Employers must also provide financial, medical, and social guarantees regarding their foreign employees and must report on their travel activities into and out of Russia and within its territory.
Limits Placed on Russia Work Permits
Once a work permit is issued, it will be valid for one year for regular workers and three years for Highly Qualified Specialists. The permit is only valid for employment in the geographic region in which it was issued. This does not apply to workers from EEU countries, who are free to work wherever there is a job.
Jus Privatum Will Expedite the Process
Russian employment law is complicated. In an effort to control and limit the influx of foreign workers in Russia, the Russian government has recently increased enforcement of immigration law. When your business is looking to hire foreign nationals, you should carefully examine your options and particularly investigate the option of hiring Highly Qualified Specialists to ease the administrative burden. If you feel that you need assistance at any stage of the process, contact the Russian immigration attorneys at Jus Privatum. We have helped many companies hire foreigner workers, and we can help you, too. Use the contact form on this page and we will reply promptly.