This GMS Flash Alert reports on notable changes in Russian immigration policies and practices for 2015 and early 2016.
Some notable changes in Russian immigration policies and practices for 2015 and early 2016 include the decline in the number of highly qualified specialist (hereinafter, HQS) work permits being issued and a rise in the number of foreign nationals prohibited from entering Russia.In this GMS Flash Alert, we look at specific rules and policies introduced over the past few months which:
There have been several important changes over the past few months to Russia’s immigration system that foreign employees coming into and leaving Russia, their employers, as well as global mobility advisers and immigration counsel need to be aware of. Many of the changes introduce:
Failure to comply with many of these changes could result in failed assignments, inability to meet business objectives, penalties, and other sanctions.
Presidential Order No. 583 of 28 November 20151 introduced restrictions on employers hiring/employing Turkish nationals (for prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2015-151, 22 December 2015).
The prohibition does not apply in the following cases:
The general provisions of this new Law – which came into force on 1 January 2016 – prohibit the secondment of personnel to/from Russia unless an employer is providing its personnel to third parties on a temporary basis and in a limited number of cases in accordance with a contract on provision of personnel3. If the consent of employees is obtained, employers (private employment agencies accredited for this specific purpose; other legal entities, including foreign legal entities and their affiliates) can provide their personnel to work – as per their employment contracts – under the control and supervision of the inviting party. However, current immigration legislation does not cover the legal procedures and requirements concerning secondment of foreign personnel to Russia.
A new Order which reduced the acceptable validity date range for the passport (or other ID documents) of a foreign national seeking to obtain HQS status or to work in a foreign commercial organization in Russia entered into force on 19 February 20164. Passports or other ID documents need now only be valid for one year from the date on which an application for a work permit is submitted. Previously, ID documents had to be valid for at least three years from the date of application.
In accordance with this FMS Order5, no state fee is to be paid when applying to the FMS (Federal Migration Service of Russia) to have the details of a work permit adjusted due to changes in the foreign national’s personal data (his/her first name, surname, or passport information), or in his/her position, profession, or line of business.
The Republic of Armenia and the Kyrgyz Republic acceded to the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015. The Eurasian Economic Union Treaty was signed on 29 May 2014, by the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
According to section 26 of the treaty:
Among other changes introduced by Article 1 of Federal Law No. 56-FZ6, the HQS minimum remuneration threshold in one calendar month must be RUB 167,000 (approximately EUR 2,000) gross. When interruption to the work of an HQS occurs due to sickness, unpaid leave, or for any other reason, restricting the remuneration to an amount below RUB 167,000 in one month, then the mandatory minimum remuneration for one reporting quarter must be RUB 501,000 gross. As such, in order to meet the required legislative amount, employers have to pay the mandatory remuneration irrespective of whether the HQS was absent or present at the place of work.
Previously, to keep HQS status, a foreign national’s minimum remuneration had to meet RUB 2,000,000 (approximately EUR 26,000) for one year (365 calendar days).
The Law makes it obligatory for foreign employees to submit changes to their first name, surname, or passport details (or any other ID documents) to the FMS in order to have their work permit adjusted7. An application to have an individual’s personal data changed in the work permit should be submitted to the FMS within seven (7) working days from the date of entry into Russia following the change in the person’s details or data, or from the date on which the personal data was actually changed.
Failure to comply with this obligation, or to meet the deadline, could trigger an administrative violation penalty (RUB 4,000 - 5,000, approximately EUR 50 - 60) for the foreign employee.
Please note that if a foreign national has two or more administrative violations (fines) within a year, he/she may be prohibited from entering Russia for several years.
According to the Law, foreign employees are prohibited from working in any other position (profession or line of business) other than the one stated on their work permits/patents. If a change of position/profession or line of business occurred, the foreign employee must apply to the FMS for an adjustment of his/her work permit.
If non-compliance with this requirement is discovered, the foreign employee will be penalised (the fine is RUB 5,000 - 7,000, approximately EUR 60 - 90) and may be deported from Russia. The company chief executive will be penalised as well (the fine is RUB 35,000 - 70,000, approximately EUR 460 - 930). In addition, the legal entity (the firm employing the foreign national) will have to pay a fine (RUB 400,000 - 1,000,000, approximately EUR 5,300 - 14,000), or its operations may be suspended for a period from 14 to 90 days. The fines indicated here are valid for Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow and Leningrad oblasts (regions). Fines in other regions of Russia may differ.
The amendments passed into law under Federal Law No. 465-FZ8 provide citizens of the Republic of Belarus with an exemption from confirming their knowledge of the Russian language, of Russian history, and of basic Russian legislation when applying for temporary residence permits or for residence permits to be issued.
Citizens of Georgia can apply for business, student, and humanitarian visas for one, double, and multiple entries, as well as for private visas, but no longer are required to make confirmation of the relationship between the parties9. Russian consulates will issue visas based on invitation letters issued by the FMS.
Employers/contractors are obliged to notify the FMS regarding the conclusion/termination of any employment/civil law contracts with foreign citizens10. Notification should be submitted to the office of the FMS in the area in which the foreign employee works. This obligation to notify concerns employment relations with all categories of foreign nationals, including citizens of Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia, as well as HQS and temporary residence permit/residence permit holders. The deadline for the submission of notifications is three (3) working days from the date on which the employment/civil law contract was concluded/terminated.
Please note that failure to notify or to meet the deadline/notification process requirements could trigger significant financial liabilities: either for the employer (a fine of up to RUB 1,000,000, approximately EUR 14,000), and for the company chief executive (a fine of up to RUB 70,000, approximately EUR 930), or for the foreign employee (a fine of up to RUB 7,000, approximately EUR 90). These fine amounts apply to the federal cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, as well as to Moscow and Leningrad oblasts (regions). Fine amounts in other regions of Russia may differ.
In 2015, employers hiring foreign citizens amended their employment contracts to comply with the requirements of the articles in Federal Law No. 409-FZ of 1 December 201411.
The Law made it obligatory to conclude “undefined-term” employment contracts with foreign nationals. Furthermore, the Law stipulated the reasons for any temporary transfers of the foreign employees within the company, suspension from work, or termination of contracts with them.
In addition, the Law stated that the following information must be provided in employment contracts:
For further information or assistance, please contact your local KPMG Global Mobility Services (GMS) or People Services professional*, or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in Russia:
Alevtina Borisova, Partner
Tel. +7 (495) 937 44 77 (ext. 12987)
Donat Podnyek, Director
Tel. +7 (495) 937 44 77 (ext. 14214)
Maxim Novikov, Senior Manager
Tel. +7 (495) 937 44 77 (ext. 12080)
* Please note KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Russia.
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