As of 30 June 2015, employers must take particular care that their foreign employees’ work permits are as up-to-date as possible in respect of passport details and position, failing which both employers and employees risk administrative sanctions. For certain categories of foreign employees, the change of position (for example, as a result of promotion) no longer triggers the need to obtain an entirely new permit, as it is now possible to apply for their current permit to be amended to reflect their new position.

Change in a foreign employee’s passport details

Federal Law No. 199-FZ dated 29 June 2015 (the “Law”) introduced a new requirement to amend a work permit when a foreign national’s passport information (including name, surname, patronym or passport number) change. Under the new rules, an application to amend the permit must be submitted to the migration authorities within seven working days (i) from the date of entry into Russia, or (ii) if changes took place during the foreign national’s stay in Russia, from the date of the relevant change. 

A foreign national who fails to apply to the migration authorities or files such an application late, may be subject to an administrative fine of RUB 4,000 - 5,000 (approx. EUR 55 - 68).

Administrative liability when a foreign national holds a position other than that specified in their work permit

The Law amended Articles 18.10 and 18.15 of the Code on Administrative Offences by introducing administrative liability for working in a position that is not specified in the work permit (applicable when the work permit contains information about the position, which is generally the case for highly qualified specialists and foreign nationals who need a visa to stay in Russia). Prior to the adoption of the amendments, these Articles only established liability for working without a work permit or in a Russian region other than that in which the permit was issued. 

Under the new regime, if a foreign national is working in a position that differs from that specified in their work permit, the following sanctions may be imposed (per breach):

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Applications to amend a work permit to reflect the employee’s actual position

The Law makes it possible, for certain categories of foreign employees, to amend the data relating to the position specified in their work permit. Prior to the passing of the Law, when the position of a foreign employee changed, the employer had to obtain a new work permit and, as a rule, to cancel the permit. The new rule simplifies the steps to be taken, for example when a foreign employee is promoted or moved to a new position within the company, as it is no longer necessary to apply for a new permit. 

This rule applies to:

  • highly qualified specialists;
  • foreign nationals who have received a work permit under the simplified procedure for companies from WTO member states (on which we reported earlier); and
  • foreign nationals from non-visa countries (i.e. Azerbaijan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine).

To date, the procedure for amending the position details specified in a work permit has not been formally approved. As a result, it is likely that, in the meantime, applicants will encounter practical difficulties when dealing with the migration authorities in relation to such issues.

Comment

We recommend employers:

  • monitor more closely the issue of conformity of the positions specified in their foreign employees’ work permits with those specified in their employment contracts; and
  • inform their foreign employees that they need to notify the employer without delay of any changes in their passport data and, when such changes are so notified, ensure that an application to amend the existing work permit accordingly is submitted to the migration authorities within the set deadline.