Representatives and employees of multinational companies making investments in Russia will be able to obtain five-year business visas without an invitation letter. Temporary residence permit holders no longer need a work permit to work in Russia. Fines have been increased for individuals or organizations that facilitate unlawful entry.

The Russian government has announced several immigration reforms, including a new five-year business visa for employees of qualifying multinational companies, automatic work authorization for temporary residence permit holders, a new e-filing service for employers applying for employment or work permits, and increased sanctions for noncompliance.

New Five-Year Business Visa

The reforms create a new multi-entry business visa for representatives and employees of multinational companies making investments into the Russian economy. The visa will be valid for up to five years and will not require a government-issued invitation letter from a sponsoring entity. Russian entry visas are generally only valid for travel for up to one year, so the new visa will benefit frequent business travelers from eligible companies. Another benefit is that eligible companies will not be required to present a government-issued invitation letter from a sponsoring entity as part of their application.

The Russian government has not specified when the new five-year visa will become available, and the Federal Migration Service has yet to establish eligibility criteria or application procedures.

Automatic Work Authorization for Temporary Residence Permit Holders

Temporary residence permits are now free to work in Russia without a work permit. In addition, employers are no longer required to obtain an employment permit to hire temporary residence permit holders.

Temporary residence permits allow foreign nationals to live in Russia on a long-term basis as a step towards permanent residence, but previously they did not grant work rights. Permit holders were required to be sponsored for a work permit if they sought to take up employment.

E-Filing Service for Employment and Work Permits

Employers are now able to use online filing to submit initial applications for employment permits and individual work permits, as well as applications for permit amendments, renewals or duplicate copies. Employers using the new system are still required to submit paper versions of supporting documents after the initial online filing.

Tougher Sanctions for Immigration Violations

Foreign nationals who overstay a visa for more than 30 days after January 1, 2013 will be subject to a three-year ban on reentry from the date they exited Russia, unless they can demonstrate to the Federal Migration Service that there was a compelling reason for the overstay.

Fines for individuals or organizations that facilitate a foreign national’s unlawful entry into or transit through Russia have been increased to a maximum of 300,000 Rubles (approximately US$ 9,890). The severity of potential criminal sanctions has also been increased.

Fragomen worked closely with VISTA Foreign Business Support (Moscow) to prepare this alert. It is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Global or send an email to [email protected].

Source: Fragomen

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