Find Detailed Answers to Common Questions About Bringing Foreign Workers to Russia
It is not unusual to have numerous questions about moving or expanding a business to Russia. Here, you will find answers to many common questions and information about how to get help with concerns that more specific to your unique business.
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What categories of foreign employees have to exam in Russian language, history and fundamentals of Russian law?
Under recent amendments to Russian immigration law, regular foreign employees entering Russia on a visa basis and regular foreign employees entering Russia on a non-visa basis must pass an exam in Russian language, history and the fundamentals of Russian law in order to obtain work permits. Citizens of the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and HQS are exempt from this requirement. The exam may be only taken in a number of certified educational institutions in Russia.
What are the work permit requirements in Russia?
Work permit requirements shall apply only to HQS and regular foreign employee entering Russia on a visa basis. Under Russian immigration law, these categories of employees have the right to work in Russia only if they hold individual work permits. Also, as it is worth noting that employers of regular foreign employees entering Russia on a visa basis must obtain employment permits (i.e. have permission to employ foreign personnel).
4 Employee Categories for Russian Work Permits
- Regular foreign employees with visa.
- Regular foreign employees, non-visa.
- Foreign employees from Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) countries.
- Highly qualified specialists (HQS).
Employment and work permits are generally issued for one year and specify a particular Russian region. An HQS work permit shall be generally issued for three years and may be valid for several Russian regions. Work permits require reapplication upon expiration. Contact our Russian business attorneys for more information.
What are the quota requirements in Russia?
Foreign employees from the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, HQS and regular foreign employees entering Russia on a non-visa basis are exempt from the quota system and can be hired even if the given year’s quota has already been met. Regular foreign employees entering Russia on a visa basis are generally formalised within the quota annually approved by the Russian Government.
Companies intending to hire foreigners must submit a request for a quota every year before the respective deadline set in the region where the foreigner will be working. Failure to apply for a quota in a timely fashion may result in significant difficulties in employing foreign nationals. The Russian government issues a list of professions not exempt from quotas every year. The list usually includes senior management of Russian companies and branches/ representative offices, as well as less common professions such as IT security specialists or engineers.
What is a Highly Qualified Specialist?
Highly Qualified Specialists (“HQS”) are foreign employees entering Russia on a visa basis and/or entering Russia on a non-visa basis (excluding citizens of the Republics of Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) whose income in Russia makes them eligible for the privileged status of “Highly Qualified Specialist”. HQS status is available to foreign employees earning a salary of at least 167,000 RUB (about USD 2,450) per month (the employer must inform the immigration authorities about payments made to HQS on a quarterly basis). HQS employees work in Russia on the basis of their personal HQS work permits while their employers do not need to formalise employment permits.
Are there any employment restrictions for foreign employees ?
There are no restrictions on how many foreign employees can work in a given Russian company or how long they can be employed in Russia. However, restrictions are in place regarding the types of activities in which foreign employees can be engaged (e.g. a foreign individual cannot work in a public service position).