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Foreign employee in Russia

Quite often, there is a need to invite workers from abroad for Russian and foreign companies operating in Russia. The immigration process - it is always long and complex procedure. Here are the details of hiring professionals from other countries.

If you employ a worker from overseas

Firstly, an employer or company can only hire overseas workers if they have permission to employ foreign nationals and a concluded civil contract. In turn, the foreign national must have a work permit or a patent.

Working on the basis of a patent is possible for citizens arriving in Russia from countries that do not require a visa, and provided that the employer carries out activities that are subject to state registration and licensing or attract international employee for personal needs not related to business. All other foreign nationals are required to have a work permit.

Companies in Russia can hire without special permission the following foreign citizens: those who do not require a Russian visa; those who are studying in institutions of higher education on a full-time basis; employees of branches and representative offices of foreign companies (subject to a work permit on the basis of Art. 13.5 of the Law №115-FZ «Concerning the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation»), highly-skilled professionals and their families.

If a company registered in Russia plans to hire foreign citizens, the most favorable and the simplest solution is to arrange it as an employment contract with a highly-qualified professional (HQP).

There are a number of advantages with respect to hiring highly-qualified foreign professionals compared to hiring other foreign nationals.

First of all, in case of HQP, the employer is not required to obtain permission to hire foreign workers, as follows from paragraphs 2 section 4.5 Article 13 of the Law №115-FZ «Concerning the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Russia» (hereinafter the Law №115-FZ), as well as a simplified procedure of registration of documents.

Furthermore, for HQP does not apply: a quota for work invitations to enter the Russian Federation; quota for work permits to foreigners (paragraph 2 of Article 13.2 of the Law №115-FZ.) and restrictions relating to the permissible share of foreign workers for certain types for the economic activity.

The requirements for HQP and how HQP are distinguished from other foreign employees

First of all, HQP distinguishes from the any other foreign workers by skill level. For employers, the main benefit is that the qualifications of foreign citizens are assessed by the company itself.

For recognition a foreigner as HQP, it is not absolutely necessary to have documents certifying a certain level of skills or education. Nevertheless, if a foreign citizen invited for a job that requires specialized knowledge or training, the worker must submit to the employer a document on education and (or) qualification, or demonstrate the presence of special knowledge.

Qualifications may be confirmed by references from customers and employers, recommendations of recruitment companies, ownership of intellectual property or other kind of verifiable information and documents.

The most important difference HQP from other foreign workers is the salary (remuneration), the minimum salary is established by the legislation - no less than 167 000 rubles per calendar month, which amounts to slightly more than 2 million rubles per year. Exceptions are: workers for «Skolkovo» project - this requirement does not apply; HQP invited by residents of technology-innovative special economic zone (except for individual entrepreneurs) - not less than 702 thousand rubles per year (from 58 500 rubles per month); experts for work in the Republic of Crimea, scientists, teachers and employees of a number of industries listed in subclause 1 Clause 1 of Article 13.2 of the Law 115-FZ - from 83 500 rubles per month, and at least 1 million per year for health care professionals.

An important difference is that HQP have a number of advantages over other foreign workers, namely:

– The work permit is issued for HQP without quotas;

– A foreign national can declare themself as highly qualified foreign professionals. To do this, he may file an application to the diplomatic or consular mission of the Russian Federation or in the office of the federal executive authority in the field of migration, while in his home country;

– HQP can obtain a work permit, which permits employment in several regions of the Russian Federation;

– The income tax rate of an individual HQP is established at the rate of 13%, regardless of whether they are tax residents of Russia or not;

– Members of a HQP’s family, which includes their spouse (wife), children (including adopted), spouses of children, parents (including adopted), spouses of parents, grandparents, grandchildren (paragraph 1.1 of Article 13.2 of the Law N115-FZ), have the right to work in Russia, but only during the period of validity of work permits of highly qualified professional. Work permits for family members shall be issued without regards to quotas;

– HQP and his family members are required to have medical insurance policies (voluntary medical insurance contracts). Typically, insurance policies for foreign employees are provided by the company;

– To obtain work permits highly qualified professionals are is not obliged to undergo the medical examination or obtain health clearances;

– A foreign citizen who has received the status of HQP, upon arriving on the territory of the Russian Federation is not require to register with immigration authorities within 90 days from the date of entry;

– In the case of early termination of the labor contract with a HQP, their work permit will be valid for another 30 days. During this period, they are able to find another employer and commence a new contract. If a highly qualified specialist is unable to locate a new contract, they and their family will be required to leave the territory of the Russian Federation within 30 working days.

Requirements for a company to hire a HQP

The following employers and customers of works (services) can hire the foreign HQPs (paragraphs 1 clause 5 of Article 13.2 of the Law N 115-FZ.):

1) Russian commercial organizations;

2) Russian scientific organizations, professional education organizations (except religious education), provided that they have the state accreditation;

3) Accredited branches and representative offices of foreign organizations;

4) Sports organizations may employ HQPs in roles specified in the list of positions of foreign citizens and stateless persons hired ass HQP in the field of fitness and sports. This list shall be approved in accordance with Art. 20.4 of the Federal Law of 04.12.2007 N 329-FZ «Concerning Physical training and Sport in the Russian Federation.»

1) Employer or clients must not have unresolved legal processes on administrative violations of the regulations for stay (residence) of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation, or for violation of conditions for employment in the territory of the Russian Federation (subclause 2 clause 5, Art. 13.2 of the Law N 115-FZ);

2) Employers and clients must not be subject to a judgement prohibiting the employment of foreign national within the Russian Federation as highly qualified professionals. A prohibition may be set aside by the Head Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia (MIA of Russia) or its regional office for two years in any of the circumstances referred to in clause 26, Art. 13.2 of the Law N 115-FZ. For example, in these circumstances it applies to the failure to fulfil obligations by the employer under an employment contract with the HQP (subclause 1, clause 26, Art. 13.2 of the Law N 115-FZ).

In addition, it should be noted that clause 1.3 of Art. 13.2 of the Law 115-FZ restricts the employer to attracting high qualified professionals for companies in the retail and commercial customer service in the retail industry.

The only exception is for managers of trade company. The law provides the option of hiring a HQP for the above position, provided that the position filled by the employee or their profession is included in a special list approved by the Ministry of Labor of the Russian Federation.

Obligations of the company that invites HQP

The law sets out a number of requirements that must be undertaken by companies that hire foreign highly qualified professional. Thus, the employer must:

1) On January 1, 2015, employers and customers of works (services), employing HQPs must generally notify the territorial body of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, on the territory of which such professionals are working, about employed details of any concluded or terminated contract. Relevant information must be submitted no later than three working days from the date of conclusion or termination (cancellation) of the contract. This follows from the provisions of subclause 1 clause 8 Art. 13 of the Law N 115-FZ and clause 5, Art. 1, clause 1, Art. 7 of the Federal Law dated 24.11.2014 N 357-FZ.

2) Employers and customers of works (services) are required on a quarterly basis to notify Head Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia or its authorized territorial body on the fulfillment of obligations for payment the salary (remuneration) to highly qualified professionals (subclause 1, clause 13, Art. 13.2 of the Law N 115-FZ).

For failure to notify or breach of the established order and/or forms of the Head Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia or its authorized territorial body by the employer on the execution of obligations on payment of salary (remuneration) to HQPs the law sets administrative liability of legal entities in the amount of 400 000 to 1 000 000 rubles according to clause 5, Art. 18.15 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation.

The employer or customer of works (services), who is in breach of the legislation and obligations in regard to a highly qualified professional, as well as failing to fulfil the mandatory conditions of an employment contract or the essential conditions of a civil contract for works (services) concluded with a highly qualified professional, is excluded from re-engaging highly qualified foreign professionals for two years from the date upon which the relevant breaches became known to the federal executive authority in the field of migration.

Restrictions for foreign professionals on the some type of activity

A foreign citizen shall not be entitled to:

– hold government or municipal jobs;

– fill crew positions of a ship sailing under the State Flag of the Russian Federation in accordance with the restrictions stipulated by the Merchant Shipping Code of the Russian Federation

– be employed in facilities or organizations whose activities relate to national security. The list of such organizations and facilities shall be approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.

Furthermore, there is a limit on the placement of executive positions by foreign citizens in organizations in whose authorized capital where more than fifty percent of the shares or interest belongs to the Russian Federation.

The foreigner temporarily or permanently residing in the Russian Federation may fill the positions of a chief accountant or other company officer who deals with accounting records in regard to compliance with the corresponding requirements of Russian law.