Work permit in Russia

Dec, 09 2020

In order to be employed in a Russian company or start up own business a foreign citizen should obtain patent or work permit first of all. It is a permit document which should be obtained by any foreign citizen who wants to legally work in the Russian Federation. It is designed for those who temporarily reside in the country and do not have status of migrants residing on a permanent basis.

Who needs work permit in Russia 

Work permit should be obtained by foreigners who wish to start up own busines or be officially employed. It matters whether they came from a country with which Russia has a visa regime, or from a “visa-free” state. Citizens of countries with a visa regime must also apply for a work visa.

However, presence of permanent residence permit eliminates necessity to additionally obtain work permit, since this document entitles a labor migrant to work in the Russian Federation. An exception is also provided for citizens of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan who can work freely in Russia without additional documents.

What is the difference between work permit in Russia and a patent? A patent can only be issued to those who come from visa-free countries with goal of employment (Azerbaijan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine). However, natives of visa states must obtain work permit.

In some cases, the law imposes special requirements on employers who hire specialists from abroad or migrants. For example, it is the employer’s responsibility to issue a permit if they want to attract a citizen of another state. The foreigner, in turn, only provides the employer with all the necessary documents.

Procedure of documents’ issuance 

It is possible to apply for work permit in general way or as a highly qualified specialist (HQS). Most foreigners get a work permit in the Russian Federation in general way. To do so, the employer issues a permit to attract foreign employees, and then deals with personal work permits of future employees. The procedure can last from 2 to 3 months.

In order to save time and effort, many lawyers recommend employing foreign citizens using a simplified procedure. However, this is not always possible, because the status of HQS requires compliance with a number of statutory provisions.

How to obtain work permit in Russia as HQS

A highly qualified specialist is a professional with great experience and expertise in a particular sphere who gets a monthly salary in the amount of no less than 167 000 rubles. Such foreigners can apply for work permit which will be valid for three years without any quotas. Moreover, they have the right to work in several regions of the Russian Federation at once. The employer can extend the employment agreement with HQS an unlimited number of times.

HQS status grants many advantages. They do not have to get a quota like other migrants, and paperwork is processed faster. Moreover, relatives can come with specialists. Employers, in turn, do not need to obtain a separate hiring permit when employing HQS.

However, HQS registration imposes a number of obligations on the employer. In particular, it is necessary to notify the migration authority once a quarter about the salary payment to such an employee. If a HQS is dismissed, you will have to additionally notify the migration authority about this fact.

When is it impossible to obtain work permit in Russia

Foreigners cannot always get a job in Russia. The law provides for a number of positions that foreign employees are not allowed to hold:

  • civil servant;
  • crew members of vessels flying the national flag of the Russian Federation;
  • employees of organizations associated with secret activities that are restricted or closed to foreigners;
  • commanders of civil aviation aircraft;
  • crew members of military vessels;
  • any positions in companies that ensure the security of the country.

These restrictions apply to all foreign citizens without exception, regardless of whether they have the status of a qualified specialist. Existence of a visa-free agreement between the migrant’s home country and the Russian Federation also does not play a role in this case.

Author of the article
Work permit in Russia
Valentina Khlavich
Managing Partner
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