RUSSIA - Quota Approvals Removed for Non-Compliant Companies; Delays in Invitation Letters for Highly Skilled Workers
The Russian authorities have been auditing companies who employ foreign nationals and has taken the bold step of removing quota allocations for companies found to be non-compliant with labour and tax legislation. Separately, we foresee delays with the issuance of invitation letters for applicants coming to Russia under the highly skilled worker route, due to changes with the administration of work permits and invitation letters under this scheme.
Revocation of Quota Allocation
The Interdepartmental Committee on the Employment of Foreign Nationals in Moscow has audited companies whose quota applications for 2013 were initially approved, and has made the decision to revoke some of the quotas, where the companies have been found to be out of compliance with labour or tax legislation, or overdue with tax payments. The companies found to be out of compliance have also been publicly listed in the government report here.
The impact is very significant for these companies - without a quota allocation, it will be almost impossible for them to employ foreign nationals in 2013, unless using the highly skilled worker route.
Companies found to have committed more minor violations (such as failure to notify the employment centres of the hire of foreign nationals, failure to register with the quota allocation centre for Moscow, or failure to make adequate notification to the employment centres of job vacancies) have not had their quotas removed but have been instructed to complete any obligations by 18 February.
Delays with Invitation Letters For Highly Skilled Workers
Since 4 February, work permit and invitation letter applications for applicants coming to Russia under the highly skilled worker route are being processed by local departments of the Federal Migration Service in the region where the applicant will be employed. Previously, applications were submitted to the central department of FMS in Moscow.
Applications may be made to the local departments (UFMS) in Moscow and the Moscow region, Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region, Altay territory, Zabaykalye territory, Krasnodar territory, Stavropol territory, Khabarovsk territory, Kaluga region, Novosibirsk region, Rostov region, Sakhalin region, Sverdlovsk region, Tyumen region, Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district – Yugra).
If the application covers several regions or any region not included in the above list, it may be filed as before with FMS Russia.
However, there are some delays. UFMS for Moscow started to accept work permit applications only as of 11 February and is still not accepting invitation letter applications. At this stage, it seems likely that another subdivision of UFMS for Moscow will be responsible for the issue of invitation letters; but currently the application procedure is not clear, and thus, delays are anticipated.
- Note the emphasis on compliance, not just with immigration regulations but also with tax and labour legislation, and the consequences of non-compliance;
- Note the delay with processing invitation letters for visas for highly skilled workers and plan accordingly