• Russia: New Law Brings Changes to Highly Qualified Worker Program, Foreign Registration Process
  • January 27, 2011
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • A new Russian law will broaden Russia’s new streamlined work permit program for highly qualified foreign specialists and impose new compliance requirements for their employers. The new law also eases registration requirements for all categories of foreign nationals. The changes become effective on February 15, 2011.

    Changes for Highly Qualified Foreign Specialists

    The legislation will broaden the highly qualified foreign specialist program to include foreign scientists or teachers who will earn at least one million rubles (approximately US $33,000) annually and who are invited to Russia by a state accredited institution of higher education, academy of science, or scientific center to participate in research or teaching. The program will also be open to foreign nationals who will work on the “Skolkovo Project,” a planned area of high-technology businesses being built outside of Moscow, regardless of salary. Foreign nationals who work in retail businesses and religious workers will be expressly excluded from the program, even if they have the requisite skills and projected income levels to qualify.

    The new law will also broaden the categories of family members who may accompany or later join a highly qualified foreign specialist to include the spouses of the principal’s adult children, the principal’s grandchildren, the principal’s parents (including adoptive parents), spouses of parents (step-parents), and the principal’s grandparents. There are also unconfirmed reports that family members who accompany or later join a highly qualified foreign specialist will be granted work authorization incident to their status as dependents and will no longer have to obtain their own work permits. Fragomen is working to confirm these reports and will issue further updates as necessary.

    Entities employing highly qualified foreign specialists will have to follow more specific wage reporting procedures and meet new medical assistance requirements. Currently employers have to simply file quarterly reports with the Russian Federal Migration Service detailing the salaries paid to all highly qualified specialists. Under the new law, they will have to file these reports by the end of the first month of each quarter. In addition to being required to provide health insurance to the employees under the program, employers will also have to sign a contract with a medical institution to provide medical assistance to each highly qualified specialist and his or her accompanying family members.

    New Registration and Deregistration Procedures for All Foreign Nationals

    Highly qualified foreign specialists will no longer need to register with Russian authorities if they are to stay in Russia for less than 90 days. In addition, specialists traveling within Russia will no longer be required to register in each new location for stays of less than 30 days. Specialists who will remain in Russia for more than 90 days or who, when traveling internally, will remain in one place for more than 30 days remain subject to regular registration requirements.

    Foreign nationals, including highly qualified foreign specialists, will no longer be able to use their employer’s address in Russia when completing registration formalities. Each foreign national will have to supply the address of their actual residence. However, foreign nationals will no longer be responsible for de-registering their residence if they move while in Russia. Once a foreign national registers a new address, migration authorities will automatically deregister the previous address. When a foreign national departs from Russia, border officials will notify migration authorities to deregister the last address.

    The content herein is provided for informational purposes only. To read more Fragomen Client Alerts please visit: http://www.fragomen.com.