Specialist of the business development department
In accordance with the state migration policy of Russia, a new category of foreign employees was introduced in 2010 – highly qualified specialists (commonly abbreviated to HQS). This status may be held by a person from any country who has qualifications that are in demand in the Russian Federation and valuable experience in a certain specialist occupation. The practice of recruitment of HQS is most common in branches of international companies or in organizations that need to find and adopt specific foreign experience. Accordingly, more and more Russian companies are replenishing their staff with foreign employees. Today we will tell you about the special characteristics and procedure for the registration of such employees.
The main requirement for obtaining the status of a highly qualified employee is the monthly salary level, which should be no less than:
It is important to note that after the recruitment of such a specialist, the employer has an obligation to inform the Federal Migration Service once a quarter about compliance with the salary payment rate, as well as about the conclusion/termination of an employment agreement, changes in PD, and other important changes. In addition, it is mandatory for a HQS and his or her family members (spouses, children, children’s spouses, parents and their spouses, grandparents and grandchildren) to enter into a medical insurance agreement (provided that they move to Russia together). For a failure to comply with these requirements, companies will face severe fines, which we will discuss later.
However, it is much easier to register a HQS for a job in Russia than any other foreign employee. This is owing to the fact that there are certain benefits for HQSs:For the recruitment of HQSs, the employer does not need to take into account the quota and have a permit issued to recruit a foreign employee. Accordingly, the employer is allowed not to place the relevant vacancy in the employment centre.
The HQS is allowed not to register for migration purposes if the period of his or her stay in the Russian Federation is less than 90 days.
When having a work permit issued, a HQS does not need to have a medical screening and provide a document evidencing proficiency in the Russian language.
A work permit for a HQS may be issued for up to 3 years, and this permit may be renewed an unlimited number of times.
A HQS may issue a residence card for himself or herself and his or her family members (taking into account that the residence card is provided only for the period when the employment agreement and work permit are valid). However, a foreign employee has a month to find a new employer and submit documents to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a work permit. After receiving a new work permit, an employee may make a new residence card. Please note that the presence of a residence card for the HQS exempts him or her from the need to obtain an employment visa.
Regardless of the employment period of the HQS, the employer should withhold and remit personal income tax in the amount of 13%
It should be noted that not every company may conclude an agreement with a HQS. For example, foreign specialists should not be hired to work in the public or municipal civil service, appointed to the position of chief accountant in a company, or hired for a job associated with ensuring the security of Russia. For more information about the special characteristics of the labour activity of a HQS, see articles 13 and 14 of Law No. 115 FZ “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation “.
As for the registration of documents for HQSs working in Russia, the standard operating procedure is as follows:
If the employee is already in the Russian Federation on a business visa, then it is possible to obtain a work permit and then, on the basis of a business visa, to obtain an employment visa without leaving the country. At the same time, during the period from the time when a work permit is obtained to the time when an employment visa is obtained, a foreign citizen may already start to exercise his or her occupation.
Organizations registered as employers for migrants are often subjected to more thorough checks. If companies do not comply with the requirements for the recruitment of foreigners, they may receive significant fines; therefore, it is worth paying sufficient attention to compliance with all the requirements of the law. We have listed all types of possible fines in the table below:
|Violation||Fine for companies||Legal provision by which it is regulated|
|The absence of a notification, or a violation of the procedure or form for the notification, of the payment of salary to the HQS||400,000 – 1,000,000 rubles||Part 5 of article 18.15 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation|
|The absence of a notification, or a violation of the procedure or form for the notification, of the conclusion or termination of an agreement with a foreigner within the prescribed time limit||400,000 – 1,000,000 rubles or a suspension of activity for a period between 14 and 90 days||Parts 3, 4 of article 18.15 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation|
|Errors in the employee’s full name in an employment agreement (improper drawing up of the agreement)||50,000 – 200,000 rubles||Parts 4, 5 of article 5.27 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation|
|Failure of the host party to comply with the conditions of residence of a foreign citizen in Russia in terms of the compliance of the activities performed by him or her with the purpose of entry or his or her timely departure upon the expiration of the period of stay||400,000 – 500,000 rubles||Part 2 of article 18.9 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation|
|Non-compliance with the requirements for the material, medical and housing supply of the invited employee during his or her stay in Russia (for example, the absence of Voluntary Health Insurance)||400,000 – 500,000 rubles||Part 5 of article 18.9 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation|
|Deliberate provision of false information about the purpose of a foreigner’s stay in Russia when drawing up documents for his or her entry||400,000 – 500,000 rubles||Part 6 of article 18.9 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation|
|Employment of a foreigner without a work permit||250,000 – 1,000,000 rubles or a suspension of activity for a period between 14 and 90 days||Parts 1, 4 of article 18.15 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation|
It is worth noting that the recruitment of foreign citizens as HQSs is really an advantageous solution for an employer who wants to develop his or her business. However, the registration of foreign specialists requires the employer to have a good knowledge of migration legislation, as well as of the procedure for the work of federal ministries, agencies, and other important bureaucratical nuances that may significantly optimize the recruitment process.
If a foreign specialist is to obtain a work permit in Russia, he or she will certainly need assistance in interacting with the Russian public authorities. Therefore, the employer often accompanies the foreigner to the Ministry of Internal Affairs or engages an outsourcing company to provide services involving assistance in obtaining a work permit. In the second case, the procedure for drawing up all necessary documents (which entails drawing up an employment agreement, work permit, invitation to enter Russia, and employment visa, undertaking migration registration, preparing notifications to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and much more) is completely under the control of experts in the field of migration legislation.