Immigration Laws: End Customer Liable for Using Illegal Foreign Labour.


Legal Update No. 363.

The Decision

The Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of Russia has ruled that that end customers are liable for breaching immigration legislation where foreign citizens are found working at their facilities without Russian work permits, including in circumstances where they are subcontracted.

The Case

During a field inspection, Federal Migration Service (UFMS) officers discovered an Uzbekistan citizen without a work permit on a site leased by OOO BIMI. The Uzbekistan citizen was officially an employee of a contractor engaged by OOO BIMI for services. OOO BIMI (the customer) was held administratively liable, and incurred a RUB 250 thousand fine for unlawfully hiring foreign manpower.
OOO BIMI applied to the court for the UFMS decision to be overturned and revoked, arguing that the contractor agreement meant that the contractor who had employed the Uzbekistan citizen should be held responsible.

Despite this, the Moscow Arbitration Court, and subsequently the 9th Arbitration Appeals Court and then Federal Arbitration Court for the Moscow Circuit, upheld the UFMS decision, holding OOO BIMI administratively responsible. It determined that while admitting the foreign national to work, the customer had not shown due care in observing Russian legislation.

The views of Supreme Arbitration Court judges differed. When deciding on a supervisory review, they noted the absence of guilt on the part of the customer and the need for a supervisory review of the judicial acts.

But, having performed a supervisory review of the case, the Presidium of the SAC upheld the judicial acts issued in the case and dismissed OOO BIMI’s application. A statement on the reasoning of the SAC Presidium resolution has not yet been prepared.

The Legal Point

The judicial acts issued in the case confirm previous court practice - specifically that an end customer is not released from liability for migration legislation breaches, even where it is not the direct employer of foreign citizens without work permits, where illegally employed foreign nationals are allowed access to its facilities.

For more information, please contact:

Nadezhda Ilyushina, Head of Employment, Pension & Benefits, Goltsblat BLP, phone: +7 495 287 44 44, email:;

Olga Fedchenko, Associate, Goltsblat BLP, phone: +7 495 287 44 44, email:

Contact details

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Ksenia Soboleva

Head of PR and Communications


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