• New Work Permit System for CIS Nationals, Russian Culture Test to be Introduced
  • February 19, 2015
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Russia will be implementing a new law that creates new work permit rules, including a new system for work permits for Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nationals, called the ‘work patents’ system, and a mandatory Russian language and history test for all visa and CIS-nationals. The changes are effective January 1, 2015.

    Work Patents System

    Russia will replace its standard work permit process for CIS nationals with a ‘work patent’ system. CIS nationals will have to declare that they wish to work on their migration card at border control, and will then have 30 calendar days to apply for a work patent. Once the work patent is issued, the CIS national will need to find employment within 60 days and send a copy of the labor agreement to the federal migration service which issued the patent. Applicants that miss these deadlines may be subject to fines, but will be able to reapply after a certain waiting period.

    Upon receipt of the work patent, the applicant will be required to pay taxes upfront for the entire period of employment, otherwise their patent may be annulled.

    The maximum validity of the initial work patent is twelve months, with the possibility of one twelve-month extension, which will require employer sponsorship.

    Work patent applicants will be required to pass a medical examination, submit fingerprints, obtain health insurance from designated companies, and submit their applications and collect the patent in person.

    Pros and Cons of the Work Patent System

    Employers will not have to sponsor initial work patent applications, and there will be no quota or labor authority approval process. Work patents will allow applicants to transfer within a company without amending their permits.

    However, applicants must only work in the region in which they apply, and regional governors will have the discretion to deny applications.

    Russian Language and History/Legal Knowledge Test

    The new law will require all work permit and work patent applicants to pass a Russian language, history and basic legal knowledge test. Regional governors will determine which schools will conduct such tests.

    New Rules for Visa Nationals

    Employers of visa nationals will be required to notify the Federal Migration Service (instead of the tax authority) of the hiring/dismissal of an employee within three business days of the change to the labor agreement. Failure to do so may result in fines up to 1,000,000 RUB.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    The work patents system should have a positive impact for companies hiring CIS nationals since it is quota-free and allows position transfers without amending the permit. However, because approvals are subject to the discretion of regional governors, this may produce inconsistent results.

    Visa and CIS nationals should contact their immigration professional to determine how and where to take the required test and complete the work patent-specific requirements.