Work permit in Russia. Who can apply and how?

Jan, 20 2024


To get a job in a Russian company, foreigners first need to obtain a patent or work permit in Russia (PHP). This is a permit issued by citizens of other states in order to legally work in the Russian Federation. It is intended for those who temporarily stay in the country and do not have the status of a permanent resident foreigner.

Who needs a work permit in Russia

The RNR is received by foreigners who want to officially get a job. At the same time, it matters whether they came from a country with which Russia has a visa regime, or from a “visa-free” state. It is worth starting at least with the fact that citizens of countries with a visa regime also need to apply for a work visa.

However, the presence of a residence permit eliminates the need to additionally obtain a work permit, since this document gives a foreigner the right 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 a work permit in Russia and a patent? A patent can be issued only by those who have arrived from countries with which the Russian Federation has a visa-free regime with a labor purpose for entry (Azerbaijan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine). But the natives of the “visa” states necessarily receive PHP.

In some cases, the law imposes special requirements on employers who hire specialists from abroad. For example, it is the employer who is obliged to issue a permit if he wants to attract a citizen of another state. The foreigner, in turn, only submits to the employer all the necessary documents.

How can an employer register a foreign employee? 

In fact, the methods of registration of a foreigner in a Russian company are not original. The employer has the right to accept a foreign employee under an employment contract or a civil contract (GPH). Both in the first and in the second case, the owner of the company is obliged to transfer the necessary insurance premiums for the employee and withhold personal income tax. The difference lies in the fact that the employment contract assumes the presence of certain items in terms of the schedule, the end and beginning of the working day, as well as the functions performed. The GPH contract also prescribes to do certain work at the appointed time. 

It should be borne in mind that it is possible to conclude an employment contract even if a foreigner does not have a work permit. However, an exception is made only for those who must obtain a work permit, already having a signed contract with the employer. In this case, the employee cannot begin his duties until he receives the permits. Further clauses of the contract are prescribed in the supplementary agreement. 

Rules for registration of an employment contract with a foreign person

Before signing an agreement with an employee, it is necessary to prepare a document and bring it to the requirements in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation. These include:

  • the text of the contract must be printed in Russian. If necessary, it can be translated into the employee’s native language.;
  • an employment contract for a foreign employee must contain provisions in accordance with Article 57 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation;
  • the agreement must contain a number of necessary information, for example, information about the work permit or patent issued. It is also necessary to note the data on the residence permit or temporary residence permit for employees permanently located in Russia;
  • the position prescribed in the employment contract must coincide with the one contained in the work permit; 
  • the agreements include information about medical documents, for example, a voluntary medical insurance policy or other documents confirming the right to seek medical care in the country. 

The procedure for processing documents

You can issue a PHP in a general manner or as a highly qualified specialist (VKS). Most receive a work permit in the Russian Federation in a general manner. To do this, the employer first issues a permit to attract foreign employees, and then deals with the personal PHP of future subordinates. The procedure can last from 2 to 3 months.

To save time and effort, many lawyers advise hiring foreign citizens under a simplified procedure. However, this is not always possible, because the status of the VCS requires compliance with a number of conditions.

Collection of other documents for work registration

In order for a foreign citizen to sign an employment contract with an employer, it is necessary to collect and provide a number of documents. This list includes the following:

  • passport of a foreign citizen;
  • a document of education, if available, or if necessary for employment in this position; 
  • proof of the right to reside in Russia – residence permit, passport with a stamp, temporary residence permit;
  • work permit or patent, which we have considered in detail earlier; 
  • a voluntary health insurance policy, provided that the employer will not independently conclude an agreement with an insurance company;
  • a Russian-style work book or information about an electronic work book in the form of STD-R or STD-PFR; 
  • SNILS card or registration notice (ADI-REG), subject to their availability or registration at the previous place of work; 
  • certificate of the presence or absence of a criminal record required for employment in certain positions.  

How to get a work permit in Russia as a VKS

A qualified specialist is a professional with experience, skills and knowledge in a certain field who receives a monthly salary of 167 thousand rubles. Such foreigners can apply for an RNR for 3 years without any quotas, besides they have the right to work in several regions of the Russian Federation at once. The employer can extend the contract with a valuable specialist an unlimited number of times.

The status of a qualified specialist gives many advantages. They don’t have to get a quota like other foreigners, paperwork goes faster. In addition, their closest relatives can come with specialists. Employers, in turn, when hiring VKS, are spared the need to obtain a separate hiring permit.

However, the registration of the VKS imposes a number of responsibilities on the employer. In particular, it is necessary to notify the migration service once a quarter about the salary payment to such an employee. And if a valuable professional is dismissed, you will have to additionally notify the migration authority about this decision.

In what cases can they refuse to issue a work permit in Russia? 

Sometimes even a foreign citizen may be refused a work permit. The grounds for such a decision include: 

  • activities of a citizen that pose a threat to the security of the Russian Federation or its citizens;
  • financing of terrorist organizations or an attempt to commit (the very fact of committing) a terrorist act; 
  • extremist activity; 
  • deportation or administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation within five years preceding the date of filing the application;
  • submission of forged documents or provision of false information; 
  • a sentence for committing a serious or especially serious crime;
  • the presence of an outstanding or uncollected criminal record in the territory of the Russian Federation or in another state;
  • bringing to administrative responsibility two or more times within one year;
  • travel outside the Russian Federation for permanent residence in another country;  
  • departure from Russia for a period of more than 6 months; 
  • not having an HIV certificate with a mark of absence of the disease; 
  • the presence of a dangerous infectious disease from the list of the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 02.04.2003 No. 188.

Who can not apply for a work permit in Russia? 

According to the Administrative Regulations on the Employment of Foreign citizens , the following categories of employees can work without a special permit: 

  • permanently residing in the Russian Federation;
  • participants of the program for the voluntary resettlement of compatriots to Russia and their family members; 
  • employees of diplomatic missions, as well as employees of consular institutions;
  • employees of international organizations, as well as private domestic workers of these persons;
  • workers of foreign companies engaged in the installation of equipment, its service or warranty service, as well as post-warranty repair of equipment brought to the country;
  • foreign journalists with Russian accreditation;
  • students of universities or technical schools who work part-time on vacation in these educational institutions; 
  • researchers or teachers invited to exchange experience in the field of research or teaching at accredited universities, state academies of sciences, research centers;
  • employees of accredited representative offices of foreign companies registered in Russia, within the number agreed upon during accreditation in accordance with international treaties of the Russian Federation.

When it is impossible to issue a work permit in the Russian Federation

Foreigners cannot always get a job in the Russian Federation. The law provides for a number of positions that foreign workers are not entitled to occupy:

  • state and municipal employees;
  • crew members of vessels flying the state flag of the Russian Federation;
  • employees of organizations associated with secret activities, access to which is restricted or closed for foreigners;
  • civil aviation aircraft commanders;
  • 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 the status of a qualified specialist. The existence of a visa-free regime agreement between the native country of a foreign citizen and the Russian Federation also does not play a role in this case.

Today, the demand for foreign workers is still high, as in previous years. That is why the number of citizens from near or far abroad who arrive in Russia does not decrease. Many foreigners face difficulties in obtaining certain documents required for a work permit in Russia. We advise you to seek professional help in order not to waste time and not to violate the legislation of the Russian Federation.

Question and answer

Will a foreign citizen who has a work permit in the Russian Federation have an advantage, provided that he is married to a Russian citizen? 

In this case, the citizenship of the employee himself takes place. Since he is a foreigner, it is necessary to determine the status – permanently residing in Russia with a residence permit, temporarily residing in Russia with a temporary residence permit, temporarily staying in Russia without documents. The presence of an officially registered marriage with a Russian citizen gives an advantage in obtaining future citizenship of the Russian Federation. After receiving a Russian passport, an employee will be able to find a job on the same grounds as Russians. 

How to apply for a job of a foreigner with refugee status? 

Foreigners who have refugee status in the territory of the Russian Federation must provide a special document confirming this fact. As a rule, this is a refugee certificate or a certificate of temporary asylum, if a person did not have time or did not want to register himself as a refugee. Then the refugee is hired according to a similar procedure with Russian citizens. To do this, you need to provide: a work record (if available), INN, SNILS, diploma, military ID (if available).
It should be borne in mind that refugees cannot be employed in companies engaged in trade in tents and markets, other retail trade outside stores, as well as retail trade in pharmaceutical products.

Author of the article
Work permit in Russia. Who can apply and how?
Valentina Khlavich
Managing Partner
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