Below we describe certain important changes in the rules on hiring and use of foreign citizens that will enter into force on January 1, 2015.

  1. Under the new rules, obtaining a work permit for all foreign workers (except highly qualified specialists) will require proving their knowledge of Russian, Russian history, and basic Russian Federation law using one of the following documents:
    1. certificate of Russian language, Russian history, and basic Russian Federation law;
    2. state education document (no lower than general education) issued by an educational institution in a state that was a member of the USSR until September 1, 1991;
    3. education and/or qualification document issued to persons who have successfully completed final attestation in the Russian Federation since September 1, 1991. 
  2. Employers, including individuals hiring and employing foreign citizens must notify the local Federal Migration Service office of the conclusion and termination of the foreign employee's employment contract within three business days of the conclusion or termination of the employment contract.

This rule applies to all categories of foreign employees, including highly qualified specialists, irrespective of whether they are present in Russia on a visa-free basis or not.

The notification form and filing procedure are to be established during the next few days.

Failure to give notice or breach of the notification procedure and/or form of notification entails an administrative fine of up to 7,000 rubles for citizens, up to 70,000 rubles for corporate officers, and up to 1,000,000 rubles or administrative suspension of activities for a period of fourteen to ninety days for legal entities.

  1. Foreign legal entities that have accredited representative offices in the Russian Federation will receive the right to hire highly qualified specialists on the general conditions provided in art. 13.2 of Federal Law 115-FZ on the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation of 25.07.2002. Foreign legal entities with accredited representative offices in the Russian Federation were not previously able to hire foreign workers as highly qualified specialists.
  2. Foreign citizens present in the Russian Federation on a visa-free basis will no longer be issued work permits. These foreign citizens can only work on the basis of a patent. Work permits already issued to such persons will remain valid for the duration of the term for which they were issued.

The following additional documents must be presented for the purpose of obtaining a patent:

  1. medical certificates for a range of infectious diseases and drug use;
  2. a document confirming finger print registration;
  3. a medical insurance agreement/policy or agreement with a medical organization on the provision of paid medical services;
  4. a document confirming knowledge of Russian, Russian history and basic Russian Federation law;
  5. a receipt for payment of income tax in the form of a fixed advance payment for the period of the patent. 

The said fixed advance payment shall be 1,200 rubles, indexed to a deflator multiplier and regional multiplier for the Russian Federation region where the patent was issued. For example, the fixed advance payment in Moscow in 2015 will be 1,200 rubles х 1.307 (deflator multiplier) х 2.55 (regional multiplier) = 4,000 rubles (for each month the patent is valid).

Please note that representative offices and branches of foreign legal entities cannot hire foreign citizens present in the Russian Federation on a visa-free basis.