“Highly-skilled professional” category extended; entry, movement and exit rules simplified for foreign citizens in Russia.


Legal Update No. 216.

Goltsblat BLP advises that Federal Law No. 385-FZ of 23 December 2010 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation” (the Federal Law) comes into effect on 15 February 2011 and that the Federal Laws “On the Procedure for Exit from the Russian Federation and Entry into the Russian Federation”, “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation”, and “On Immigration Registration of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons in the Russian Federation” have been amended. The main amendments are as follows.

1. A “highly-skilled professional” has been defined more precisely

Highly-skilled professionals are now understood to mean:

  • (а) a foreign scientific worker or teacher invited to engage in research and scientific or teaching activities by accredited higher educational institutions, national academies of sciences or their regional branches, national research centres or state scientific centres with a proposed salary of at least RUB 1 million per annum
  • (b) a foreign expert to be involved in the Skolkovo Project in accordance with the Federal Law “On the Skolkovo Innovation Centre”, irrespective of his/her salary; 
  • (c) as before, other foreign citizens with professional experience, skills or achievements in a particular practice area with a salary (remuneration) in Russia of at least RUB 2 million per annum.  

Persons engaged in missionary work or other religious activities will no longer qualify as highly-skilled professionals. 
The Federal Law entitles the RF Government to set restrictions on Russian employment of foreign citizens as highly-skilled professionals working for retail trade companies.

2. Requirements on employers with respect to highly-skilled professionals have been more precisely specified

  • Employers and customers must now submit quarterly reports to territorial departments of the Federal Immigration Service indicating the salary paid to the employee, any long (above one month) leave taken and termination of contract no later than the last working day of the month following the reporting quarter.   
  • Highly-skilled professionals and their family members must be covered by medical insurance or be entitled to primary medical care and special medical assistance on the basis of an appropriate contract between the employer or customer and a medical institution for the duration of contract with the highly-skilled professional. Family members of a highly-skilled professional include his/her spouse, children, children’s spouses, parents, parents’ spouses, grandparents and grandchildren

3. Entry, movement and exit rules simplified for foreign citizens

  • Branches of foreign legal entities registered under the notification procedure with the federal immigration authority (its territorial department) may apply for invitations to enter Russia for foreign citizens for the purpose of employment in Russia.
  • Residence permits will be issued to highly-skilled professionals and their family members for the duration of the work permit issued to the highly-skilled professional.
  • Family members of highly-skilled professionals are issued ordinary work visas for the duration of the visa issued to the highly-skilled professional, with the right to be employed in accordance with the federal law, to study and engage in other activities to the extent permitted by Russian law, with subsequent extension of such visas if the highly-skilled professional’s visa is extended. 
  • Highly-skilled professionals and their family members are released from the immigration registration requirement for up to 90 days after entering Russia. Should they travel across Russia and arrive at a new place of stay for fewer than 30 days, foreign citizens duly registered at their place of residence (place of stay) in Russia will be released from the immigration registration requirement. Once the above time periods (90 and 30 days) have expired, however, the foreign citizens must register at the new place of stay within a maximum of three working days.

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