Easing of the conditions for foreigners to work in Russia (highly qualified specialists, work for individuals, etc.).

31.05.2010

Legal Update No. 146.

Goltsblat BLP advises that Federal law of 19 May 2010 No. 86-FZ “On amendments to the Federal Law “On the legal status of foreigners in the Russian Federation” and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation” (the Federal Law) comes into effect on 1 July 2010.

The Federal Law makes a series of material changes to the current immigration legislation, introducing, in particular, a new category of working foreign national: highly qualified specialists earning at least 2.5 million roubles a year for their work in Russia under an employment or civil law contract.

The hiring procedure for such specialists has been substantially simplified:

  • their hire is not subject to the entry invitation or work permit quotas for Russia;
  • they can be hired by Russian commercial and scientific organisations, professional educational and healthcare institutions, and other organisations engaged in scientific, technical and innovative activities, R&D, and testing in areas of priority for Russia, as well as branches of foreign legal entities in Russia;
  • no corporate permit to employ foreigners is required in order to hire them;
  • fewer documents are needed for issuing them work permits (in particular, it is no longer necessary to prove their education credentials unless the Russian legislation stipulates such a requirement for certain occupations);
  • a work permit should be issued within 14 working days;
  • their work permits and associated work visas may be issued for 3 years, rather than the current one year, as is the case for all other foreign employees, and may be prolonged repeatedly;
  • a personal income tax rate of 13 per cent is applied from day one, rather than when they become tax residents of Russia, but the employer must notify the federal immigration authorities of their registration with the Russian tax authorities and report quarterly on their earnings.

The Federal Law also introduces new rules allowing non-visa expatriates to be hired by Russian individuals to perform non-commercial work (for personal, domestic and other similar needs), provided the foreign nationals have a licence. The licence will be issued for a period of from one to three months and can be renewed repeatedly, but for a maximum of 12 months, and it will be valid provided an advance payment of 1000 roubles a month (with subsequent indexation) is paid towards personal income tax.

In addition, the Federal Law simplifies the migration recording requirements when foreigners move from one part of the Russian Federation to another, with no notification of their departure being necessary.

Changes are also made to the Tax Code of the Russian Federation and to certain other legislative acts.

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