• Delays Continue for Invitation Letters; New Penalties for Immigration Noncompliance
  • August 22, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Invitation letters for business visas, Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) work permits and standard work permits continue to be delayed by five to ten business days when processed by the Federal Migration Service (FMS) in Moscow. Invitation letter applications for HQS permits have been delayed since the FMS transferred processing responsibilities from the Moscow office to regional offices earlier this year.

    The implementation of a new computer system and the usual high volume of applications in the summer have also contributed to the delays. The FMS has indicated that it may need some time to resume adjudicating applications within legislatively mandated processing times.

    New Penalties for Immigration Noncompliance

    The Russian government has established new punishable offenses for immigration noncompliance for both employers and foreign nationals.

    Foreign nationals who lose the documentation confirming their status and fail to notify the appropriate authorities are now subject to deportation and fines ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 rubles (approximately USD 80-200).

    Employers can now be fined up to 800,000 rubles (approximately USD 24,284) for failing to notify tax officials when a standard work permit holder’s employment is terminated or when the employee takes a non-paid vacation exceeding one month. Fines can reach up to one million rubles (approximately USD 30,355) if the foreign national holds an HQS work permit.

    These and other fines for noncompliance will now increase by approximately 40 percent for violations that occur in Moscow or the greater Moscow administrative district (oblast) and in St. Petersburg or the greater Leningradskaya oblast.