RUSSIA – Collection on Behalf of CIS Nationals Now Possible – New Bilateral Agreements Signed Between Russia-India, Russia-Korea
Russia's immigration authorities have announced changes that facilitate immigration applications for certain applicants. It is no longer necessary for Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nationals working in Moscow to collect their approved work permits in person; the Federal Migration Service will now allow collection by a third party holding a power of attorney. In addition, Russia has signed bilateral agreements with both India and South Korea which aim to facilitate immigration applications for individuals moving between the relevant countries.
Collection of Work Permits for CIS Nationals
Effective 15 November 2011, the Federal Migration Service (FMS) in Moscow has been allowing work permits for CIS nationals to be collected by a representative, provided that the representative holds a Power of Attorney from both the work permit applicant and the Russian employer.
Note that this is a change in practice rather than an official amendment to the federal law (p.7, article 13.1 of federal law dated July 25, 2002 “On the legal status of foreign nationals in the territory of the Russian Federation”), and therefore may be short lived. However, for the time being, it allows greater flexibility for CIS nationals and their employers.
More About CIS Nationals
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is formed by eleven countries that were previously part of the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
CIS nationals (apart from Belarusians and, from January 2012, Kazakhstanis) still require personal work permits to take up employment in Russia, but these work permits are issued without the need for the company to have a separate company work permit. In addition, CIS nationals do not require visas to enter or reside in Russia. For more information about immigration procedures for CIS nationals, contact Peregrine or your Russian immigration service provider directly.
Russia-India Bilateral Agreement
Russia and India have signed a bilateral agreement designed to facilitate visa applications for short visits. The agreement specifies that the issuance of visas valid for up to 90 days out of 180 should be simplified and also that multiple entry visas valid for up to five years (with ach stay limited to 90 days out of every 180 days) should be available.
The changes have not yet been put into practice and we do not realistically expect to see significant changes for at least six months.
Russia-Korea Bilateral Agreement
Russia and South Korea have also signed and ratified an agreement which goes further than the Russia-India arrangement. The agreement between Russia and Korea relates to temporary employment, and provides simplified immigration procedures for the following categories of foreign nationals:
- Employees of Representative offices located in the territory of the other Party;
- Intra company transferees;
- Company Directors
- Dependent family members (spouses, minor children) with some exceptions.The simplified procedures are as follows:
- No quota system when applying for work permits;
- For Representative Offices accredited with the authorized authority in the other country, work permits are not required provided the number of employees does not exceed the number specified at the time of accreditation of the office (generally up to five employees for Representative Offices in Russia);
- Work permits will be granted for the whole territory of the host country (with an exception for territories with restricted access);
- Work permits will be renewable for up to three years without any need for departure / re-entry;
- Dependent family members should be able to obtain multiple entry visas which are extendable for the whole period of employment of the principal applicantAgain, the agreement has been signed and ratified but has not yet come into force, and we expect this to take some months: Peregrine will keep our readers posted.
- Note that, effective immediately, collection of personal work permits by a representative of behalf of CIS national applicants is possible, with a Power of Attorney
- Where relevant, arrange Powers of Attorney in advance to facilitate collection
- Note new, simplified procedures for Korean nationals working in Russia and vice versa, to come into effect in the next few months
- Note simplified short term visa procedures for Indian visitors to Russia and vice versa, also to come into effect in the next few months