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Russian Legal Update

9 July 2014
Russian Legal Update

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Notice for Foreign Citizens Employed in Russia and Russian Citizens With Dual Citizenship or Permanent Resident Status Abroad

The Russian government has passed 3 laws which may affect you or the employees in your company if you/ they are:

  1. A foreign citizen employed in Russia (other than highly-qualified specialists)
  2. A foreign citizen employed in the representative office of a foreign company
  3. A Russian citizen with dual citizenship or permanent residence in another country and residing in Russia (or the parent of such a person)

1.) Foreign citizens employed in Russia (other than highly-qualified specialists)
On 20 April 2014, the President of the Russian Federation signed into law a bill which introduces amendments to the Federal Law on the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation. Most amendments take effect as of 01 January 2015 and, if you are employed in Russia or plan to be employed in Russia, may impact you as follows:

A) Foreign citizens from countries with a visa-free regime (excluding minors) employed in Russia: Unless you have graduated from an institution of higher learning in the Soviet Union before 01 September 1991 or in the Russian Federation on or after 01 September 1991, as of January 2015, you will need to pass an exam showing that you have sufficient knowledge of the Russian language, Russian law, and Russian history in order to:

  • receive or extend a work permit
  • receive or extend a temporary residence permit
  • receive or extend a permanent residence permit
  • receive or extend a domestic work permit (a patent)

Exams will be administered at certified educational institutions. This requirement does not apply to certain categories of employees, including highly-qualified specialists (see item 3 below), minors (under age 18), students studying in full-time programs, and certain other categories.

B) Foreign citizens who require visas to enter Russia employed in Russia: The same requirements apply as listed in item 1 above. Foreign citizens who will be employed in the future may enter the country without passing the exam, but will need to pass the exam and provide the results to the authorities within one (1) month after their arrival.

C) Highly-Qualified Specialists: The amendments do not apply to highly-qualified specialists unless you change your status in Russia. A “highly-qualified specialist” is a foreign citizen employed in Russia who meets certain qualifications, including a minimum salary amount.

D) Companies: Please prepare for the changes accordingly and note that it will not be possible to hire foreign citizens who are not “highly-qualified specialists” unless they will be able to pass the exam.

Please note that these changes do not apply to foreign citizens who are not employed in Russia, so all foreign citizens entering Russia on a business visa will not be subject to these requirements.

2.) Foreign citizen employed in the representative office of a foreign company
Recent changes now permit the representative offices of foreign companies to hire foreign citizens as “highly-qualified specialists”. The main requirement to receive this status is a minimum salary of RUB 2,000,000 annually. The benefits include the possibility of receiving a work permit valid for up to 3 years, reduced requirements for employers, and a fast-track procedure to receive the work permit.

3.) Russian citizens with dual citizenship or permanent residence in another country and residing in Russia (or the parents of such persons)
Other recent legislative amendments may affect you if you are a Russian citizen and:

  • Have or acquire citizenship of another country and live in the Russian Federation
  • Have or acquire a residence permit or similar document providing permanent residence in another country and live in the Russian Federation
  • Have a child under the age of 18 who meets one of the two requirements above

For these persons, you are now obligated to report to the Russian government on the fact that you hold non-Russian citizenship or have the right to live permanently in another country. These changes come into effect on August 4, 2014, and require you to file a report with the local office of the Federal Migration Service within 60 days (or within 60 days after you require the respective status). Please note that the punishment for failure to report is a possible fine of up to RUB 200,000, the amount of your annual salary or other income, or community service of up to 400 hours. The failure to “promptly” report results in a fine of up to RUB 1,000.

Russian citizens currently living abroad “permanently” are not obligated to report on this; however, the law does not provide any definition of what qualifies as “living abroad permanently”. Please note that courts have taken various approaches regarding what constitutes “permanently residing outside of the Russian Federation”. For example, one approach is that Russian citizens are not considered to be “permanently residing outside of the Russian Federation” if they are still registered somewhere in Russia at an address. Therefore, we recommend that, even if you are living abroad, you seek proper advice regarding your current status.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Victoria Goldman
Managing Partner Russia
Tel. +7 812 363 3377, +7 495 662 6434
Mobile StP: +7 921 999 3111, Moscow: +7 968 910 3111
victoria.goldman@hannessnellman.com

Luke Wochensky
Deputy Head, Moscow Office
Moscow: Tel. +7 (495) 662-6434 | Mobile +7 (964) 575-3511
St. Petersburg: Tel. +7 (812) 363-3377 | Mobile +7 (921) 330-4063
luke.wochensky@hannessnellman.com

* Federal Law No. 142-FZ on Amendments to Articles 6 and 30 of the Federal Law on Citizenship of the Russian Federation and Various Legal Instruments of the Russian Federation dated June 4, 2014, Federal Law No. 106-FZ on Amendments to Various Legal Instruments of the Russian Federation dated May, 05 2014, and Federal Law No. 74-FZ on Amendments to the Federal Law on the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation dated April, 20 2014