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Home Start Up Legal and tax overview Russian Labor Legislation Overview
Russian Labor Legislation Overview

Labor legislation is composed of the Labor Code and a number of sublaws and regulations. The Labor Code strictly governs almost all aspects of labor relationships and its provisions are obligatory for employers and employees, i.e. even poor working conditions although agreed between employer and employee and fixed in a labor contract become void.

Labor legislation strictly regulates reasons and conditions for employment, dismissal and change of employment conditions, work and holiday terms, extra or special regime work and business traveling compensations, treatment of employees under 18 years old, women on maternity leave, etc. First and foremost, labor legislation seeks to protect the interests of employees.

The Russian labor legislation provides for a rule under which labor relationship entered into outwith the Russian Federation but taking place in the Russian Federation must be regulated by Russian labor legislation. Therefore, a foreign employee who has entered a labor contract with a foreign company which later assigns this employee in Russia, must be employed in accordance with Russian labor legislation. Where a labor contract, concluded between a foreign employee and a foreign company, contradicts Russian labor legislation, the latter is applied.

This also means that the labor activity of such foreign employees must be documented in the same way as the labor activity of Russian employees. Hence, the employer company must compile personnel record documentation for enrolling foreign employees.

Russian Migration Legislation Overview

Russian legislation, while establishing equal rights for Russian and foreign employees, stipulates certain restrictions concerning the work activity of foreign nationals in Russia. On July 25, 2002 the President of the Russian Federation approved Federal Law "On the legal status of foreign nationals in the Russian Federation" # 115-FZ. The Law defines the legal status of foreign nationals in the Russian Federation and also covers issues of their entry, exit, stay and employment.

The Law sets out the procedure according to which each foreign citizen must obtain a personal work permit for conducting labor activity in Russia (under either a labor or civil law contract). It is the employer company that is obliged to obtain a work permit for a foreign employee. In addition to this, the employer company must also obtain an employment permit in order to gain the right to employ foreign citizens.

A foreign national doesn't need a work permit if he/she has:

  - Temporary Residency

A temporary residing foreign citizen is a person who has obtained a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP). This is a document providing the right for a foreign citizen to reside in Russia before obtaining a residence permit. A TRP is issued for 3 years and should be issued within 6 months from the application date. A TRP can be issued to a foreign citizen within the quota established by federal government.

Rights and obligations of a temporary residing foreign citizen

A temporary residing foreign citizen cannot change as he or she wishes the place of residence
within the region where he/she obtained a temporary residence permit, or to reside outside the region where he/she obtained a temporary residence permit.

A temporary residing foreign citizen does NOT need a work permit to work on the territory of
the region where he/she obtained a TRP but has to obtain one to work outside of this region.

If a foreign citizen wants to leave Russia he/she should apply for a single exit/entrance visa each
time he/she leaves.

  - Permanent Residency

A permanently residing foreign citizen is a person who has obtained a Residence permit in Russia. After obtaining a Temporary residence permit and residing on its basis for no less than a year, a foreign citizen may apply for a residence permit. A residence permit is issued to a foreigner for 5 years and can be extended for another 5 years. A residence permit enables a foreign citizen to work in Russia without a work permit and to travel in and out of Russia without a visa.

A foreign national doesn't need a work permit if he/she:
- is an employee of the diplomatic representations, worker of the consular institutions of foreign states in the Russian Federation
- is an employee hired to assemble and maintain equipment imported into Russia by a foreign company
- is a journalist accredited in the Russian Federation
- is a student studying in Russia and working in his/her spare time
- is a lecturer or teacher invited by an educational organization

In circumstances other than those mentioned above, the Russian Government adopts an annual employment quota limiting the number of foreign nationals coming to work in the Russian Federation.

Types of Russian visas.

A visa is a document issued on the basis of the invitation for an entry to the Russian Federation. The visa determines the period a foreign citizen may stay in Russia. All foreign individuals except for citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States (most of the former Soviet Union Republics) need to have a visa to enter and stay in Russia. Citizens of Turkmenistan and Georgia also require a Russian visa.

Type of visa When it is required Inviting authority Ground for issue Term of visa
"Work" visa When a foreign citizen comes to Russia to work for a Russian company or subsidiary company of a foreign legal entity. Employer company. Foreign individual's Russian Work permit. Such visas are issued for a period of 12 months and are usually registered in Russia for 6 or 12 months. This visa can be extended for another 12-month period by leaving Russia, provided that foreign individual's Russian Work permit did not expire and the new Work permit was obtained in time.
"Foreign employee" (work) visa When a foreign citizen comes to Russia to work for a representative or branch office of a foreign company. The authority with which a representative or branch office is accredited. Foreign individual's personal accreditation card and work permit Usually such visas are issued for a period of 12 months and are usually registered in Russia for 6 or 12 months. This visa can be prolonged for another 12-month period without leaving Russia.
"Business" visa When a foreign citizen comes to Russia for meetings, negotiations, participation in exhibitions and takes part in personal development and retraining programs. It should be the authority (company) where the foreign citizen actually travels for business. Invitation issued by an inviting authority (company). "Business" visa may be issued up to 12 months but it allows the foreign citizen to stay in Russia for not more than 180 consecutive days.

Personal Registration

All foreign nationals who have entered the Russian Federation are required to register within 3 working days from the day of their arrival. They should be registered at the address where they are planning to live for the duration of their stay. To do so, the inviting company should provide a form which has been filled in by the owner of the property where the foreigner is to stay and legalized at the local DEZ (House-Managing Service) or local REU (Department of Repair and Exploitation). This document (form) should bear the signature of the Head of the DEZ or REU, as well as the full name and title of this person in block capitals, in order for it to be valid.

If a foreign citizen has changed the place of his/her stay in the Russian Federation, he/she has to register at the new address within 3 working days. The registration of children under 18 takes place at the same time as the registration of their parents.

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