A recent decision by the Federal Migration Service poses immigration law issues for entertainers and for the agencies and organisers involved in music and other performance events.

On March 9 2012 Moscow hosted the Disco Of The 90s show, which featured bands such as Snap, East 17, La Bouche and Culture Beat. However, certain performers who did not have work permits and travelled to Russia on tourist visas have now been fined between $80 and $160, with the event's organisers being fined $25,000.

From an immigration law perspective, this precedent clarifies that the Federal Migration Service's main criterion is the type of activity that a foreign national will carry out in Russia, not the period of time that he or she will spend in Russia. Previously, no such penalties were imposed.

This approach creates a serious problem, as Russian immigration legislation does not stipulate a special visa category for foreign artists and musicians. It appears that they will have to apply for either a standard work permit for one year - which takes three months to obtain and is subject to a quota - or a three-year work permit in the Highly Qualified Specialist category.

For further information on this topic please contact Timur Beslangurov at VISTA Foreign Business Support by telephone (+7 495 933 78 22), fax (+7 495 933 78 23) or email ([email protected]).