KPMG: Changes to Legislation on Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Russia

Federal law No. 86-FZ (the “Law”) of 19 May 2010
introduced numerous amendments to the Federal Law “On Legal position of foreigners in the Russian Federation” that enter into force from 1 July 2010. These amendments (“Amendments”) include a simplified procedure of obtaining the work permits (“procedure”) for certain categories of foreign professionals.


Simplified procedure for highly-skilled foreign professionals

Under this new Law a new category – “highly-skilled professional” was introduced. Thereby, a highly-skilled professional is a foreign employee, who has work experience and skills or achievements in a certain area and whose annual salary exceeds two million rubles.
The Law establishes a simplified procedure for employing highly-skilled foreign professionals, namely:

  1. Employers may hire such highly-skilled professionals without obtaining a permission to employ foreign citizens;
  2. The quota system is not applied to highly-skilled professionals, namely:
    • For the issue of invitation to enter the Russian Federation;
    • For the issue of work permits;
  3. The work permit period is issued for the term of his or her employment but cannot exceed three years. It should be stressed that the general work permit period cannot exceed one year;
  4. The period of processing the application by the state migration authorities is fourteen business days from the moment of submission of such application.
  5. A list of organizations which have the right to employ highly-skilled professionals and enjoy simplified procedure includes (provided that such organizations have not committed any administrative offences associated with employing foreigners within two years prior to the submission of the application):
    • Russian commercial organizations;
    • Accredited organizations: Russian scientific organizations, educational institutions, health care institutions and others;
    • Accredited branches of foreign legal entities (not representative offices).


Possibility of employment of foreign citizens by individuals

Russian individuals are now entitled to employ foreign citizens on a visa-free basis if:

  • the employment is to be carried out only for personal, family and other similar purposes;
  • a foreign employee has a special patent;
  • employer has obtained a permit to employ a foreign citizen;
  • and employee has obtained a work permit.


Work permit
  1. In order to obtain the work permit for the highly-skilled professionals the following documents are to be filed:
    • application on employment of the highly-skilled professionals;
    • employment or service contact with the highly-skilled professional;
    • a commitment letter to pay the cost incurred to the Russian Federation in case of deportation of a highly-skilled professional;
    • a copy of the certificate on the state registration of accredited organizations (if applicable): Russian scientific organizations, educational institutions, health care institutions; or accredited branches of foreign legal entities which are considered to be the employers.
  2. As of the date on which these Amendments come into force the work permits can be prolonged in accordance with extended term of validity of work permits for highly-skilled professionals. In this case, a foreign individual has to submit several documents to the state migration authorities within fifteen business days before a work permit validity period expires. It should be taken into account that the decision on prolongation of a work permit is to be made irrespective of the quotas for the issue of a work permit.


Residence permit

In case a highly-skilled professional wants to obtain the right for the permanent residence and also have the right to pass the boundaries of the Russian Federation without visas then it is necessary to obtain a residence permit. There is a preferential regime for obtaining such a permit for the highly-skilled professionals and only submission of the written application to the state migration authorities is required. The residence permit is valid only for the period of employment of a foreign employee according to the employment or service agreement.


Photographing the foreign citizens

As of 1 January 2013 foreign employees will be photographed and pass the state dactylography procedure when obtaining work permits. These provisions do not apply to highly-skilled professionals.


Reduction of taxes for foreigners

The Law also amends certain provisions of Part Two of the Russian Tax Code. For example, the
individual income tax rate will be reduced from 30 to 13 percent for:

  • highly-skilled professionals and
  • “visa-free” foreign employees working on the basis of a patent.