Tightening the visa scheme and employment procedure for citizens of Turkey

Citizens of Turkey will need a visa to enter the Russian Federation as from January 01, 2016. Visa-free entrance remains possible for the Turkish citizens having a temporary residence permit, residence permit or official or special passports (currently important for diplomatic representative offices and consular agencies).

Additionally, the Decrees of the Russian Federation suspending the receipt of documents for the issue of permits for the Turkish citizens on behalf of all companies except legal entities approved by a separate list (the total of 53 companies in different territorial entities of the Russian Federation, primarily development and construction companies) also became effective on January 01.

You can read the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation governing the list of companies at: http://www.garant.ru/hotlaw/federal/688367/


Introduction of the Schengen Visa with biometric data

The new Visa Information System (VIS) has been introduced in the Russian Federation in all consulates and visa centers of the Schengen States. Each applicant is required to appear at the consulate or visa application center in person in order to provide biometric data (10 fingerprints and a digital photo). The children under 12 years and the individuals who are physically unable to provide fingerprints or a retinal scan are exempted from providing biometrical data. Biometric data shall be provided once every 5 years and is stored in a common Schengen database.

In the first weeks after the new rule introduction, the process of providing biometrics at consulates and visa centers of Germany, Austria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Switzerland went without any major problems. Though, there are technical difficulties with fingerprint scanning at the Consulate of Hungary and the visa centers of Spain, which increase the filing time by 30 - 40 minutes on the average.

In general, the introduction of this procedure has not increased the processing time or caused any difficulties to the applicants, but as before, we recommend planning visits to visa centers in advance as the flow of applicants may increase.


Important update of Russian immigration legislation: correction of a work permit and new rules for foreign employees, if their position should be changed

Federal Law 199-ФЗ has come into force on June 29, 2015, according to which the following changes have been made regarding the procedure for employing foreign citizens in the Russian Federation:

1. In the case that a foreign worker’s name or passport number has changed, the new law establishes his obligation to make the relevant changes to his work permit or patent, and also establishes an administrative fine in the case that he fails to fulfil this obligation.

  • This obligation applies to all types of work permits and patents, including those for highly qualified specialists (previously, this was envisaged only for patents);
  • The period for submitting an application is 7 working days from the date that the foreign worker’s name or passport number has been changed or from his date of entry into the Russian Federation in the case that the change occurred during his stay abroad;
  • The foreign worker must contact the government authority, which issued the work permit or patent. By implication of the law, the foreign worker himself must be the applicant and only he is liable in the case that he has applies late to have such amendments made or in the case that he fails to apply for this at all;
  • Liability implies an administrative fine in respect of the foreign worker in the amount of 4 to 5 thousand roubles (Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation, Article 18.10).

2. The new law establishes administrative liability on the part of both the employer and the employee in the case that the employee is factually performing work for any job position, other than that which is specified in his work permit or patent.

  • By implication of newly adopted law, the foreign worker himself must be the person who applies for a change in the position specified in the work permit or patent. He must approach the government authority that issued the relevant document;
  • If no particular position was not initially specified in the patent, the foreign citizen has the right to work in any position (the position indicated in any patents issues are granted only by the decision of the leadership of the subject of the Russian Federation, which issued the patent);
  • Administrative liability on the part of both the employee and the employer is equated with liability for engaging in labour activity without first obtaining a work permit or a patent (Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation, Articles 18.10 and 18.15);
  • We recall that an employee cannot be transferred to another job position until the time that a new work permit or patent, specifying the new position, has been issued.

Change to the procedure on notification by the employers for employment and dismissal of foreign citizens

New rules for companies which employ foreign citizens finally came into effect on 02.02.2015, in accordance with the order № 640 d/d 08.12.2014 and the amendments to the Federal Law #115-FZ “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation”


According to the law, a unified procedure was introduced for notifying state agencies about the conclusion and termination of the employment contract with the foreign citizens, providing as follows:


  • the employer's obligation to notify applies to all categories of the foreign citizens, including temporary and permanent residents in the Russian Federation, as well as the citizens of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia
  • the employer notifies only local FMS in which territory the foreign citizen works. Further, FMS shall independently exchange information with the tax authorities and bodies in the field of employment
  • it is necessary to notify on an employment contract and its termination (cancellation).
  • the period of notification is 3 working days.


Simultaneously, the following notifications were cancelled:

  • for non-paid leave for a highly qualified specialist;
  • a notification on early termination of the employment contract with a highly qualified specialist must be given pursuant to the procedure common to other categories of the foreign citizens);
  • a notification to the Federal Tax Service (Article 18) and the authorized body in the field of employment (Article 13.1) on employment and dismissal of the foreign workers.


Please note that the quarterly notification on payment of wages to highly qualified specialists still applies.


Abolition of visa regulations between Russia and Mongolia

An agreement of abolition of the visa regulations between Russia and Mongolia comes into force on 14 November 2014, according to the agreement signed on the 3th September 2014 between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Mongolia. That means that the citizens of both countries can make mutual visits without a visa, on condition that the planned duration of stay in the country will not exceed 30 days. At the same time the total number of days in one half year (180 days) must not exceed 90 days.

It should be noted that prior to the date of entry into force of the agreement, the Russian citizens need visas, as before, which can be applied through the Consular Section of the Embassy of Mongolia in Russia. The only exceptions exist for the inhabitants of the Russian regions bordering with Mongolia. There are special conditions for them which continue to operate – reductive procedure of entry with internal passports with the local registration stamp and certificate for the single border crossing, which is issued in Russian and Mongolian languages ​​at the regional offices of the Federal Migration Service of Russia and the Chief Administration of Police of Mongolia.

It is also important that the visa regime will continue to operate after November 14 for citizens traveling to the territory of Mongolia for more than 30 days, or for those who are planning to undertake labor or commercial activity in the territory of the country. Similar rules apply to citizens of Mongolia in respect of the Russian Federation.

This practice of visa free entry already existed between Russia and Mongolia before. But in 1995, on the initiative of the Mongolian side it was canceled. Resumption of it, according to many experts, will help to strengthen the mutually beneficial relations between countries in respect of business, culture and tourism.

To get a Schengen visa, Russians will need to provide biometric information

Citizens of the Russian Federation applying for visas to European Union countries will need to provide biometric information in the future

In spite of the fact that in accordance with the EU Visa Code that went into effect on 5 April 2010, everyone applying for a Schengen visa must go through the procedure of submitting biometric data, this innovation has yet to be applied in Russia as well as a few other countries (Ukraine, Belarus).   A gradual transition to the new system of turning in biometric information for visa applications is envisioned for citizens of those countries.  Initially it was presumed that the Moscow consulates of European countries would start accepting biometric information in 2013, but now they’re talking about the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.

Lately, both the Russian and the European media have discussed the likelihood of the forthcoming implementation of this procedure; however, concrete dates have not been discussed.  The lack of official information about this question gives rise to serious concerns for those in the Russian tourism industry as well as for everyday Russian citizens traveling to European Union countries.  It is well known that, currently, every visa applicant has to submit biometric information only for their first Schengen visa application.  Biometric data is stored for about five years and is copied for subsequent applications.  So far, official sources have not made  more detailed information known.  It is presumed that the schedule for the transition to collecting biometric information will be made known after the head of the European Union delegation to Russia, Vygaudas Ušackas, answers a letter from the Russian Association of Tour Operators sent to him with a request to provide the necessary clarifications.


The application process for the employers interested in foreign labor is lengthened

Moscow Center for Labor Exchange ( MCLE ) started accepting applications for the quota in 2015 and 2014 quotas correction.

This year, the following significant changes to the application procedure were introduced :

1. The deadlines were extended. Last year  applications for a quota and the correction of the quota in 2013 could be submitted until May 1. Starting from the year 2015 application deadline for the quota is going to be July 01, and the application for adjustment of quotas  - September 1.

2 . The list of documents required to apply for a quota was also changed. Like last year, MCLE requires two applications for quota and a power of attorney for the representative of the company. A letter of guarantee (new form), originals and certified copies of  an extract from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities , a Taxpayer Identification Number and a Lease Agreement ( the originals are returned to the employer after applying for a quote) must be also provided.

Please contact our consultants for more information regarding applications to Moscow Center for Labor Exchange

Enrollment quota in 2015 and 2014 quota adjustments.

At the present moment, Moscow Center for Labor Exchange is not receiving documents related to the formation of the quota for 2015 or the adjustment of the migration quota for 2014. This delay is due to the fact that since January 1, 2014, the Government Decree regulating the procedure for submitting documents to the state agency lost its effect. 

According to the available information, the state agency will not start receiving documents until the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection issues an order ("On approval of the rules determining the need to attract foreign employees by the executive authorities of the Russian Federation”) and a new list of documents to be attached. 

According to preliminary information, the new order will make substantial amendments to the previously existing procedure. For example, it will remove the time limitations on filing an application for adjustment of the quota, e.g. the applications will be received during the whole calendar year (previously the application deadline was strictly May 1).

Canadian visa centers are opening in Russia

New visa centers of Canada are opening at the territory of Russian Federation. They are located in Rostov-on-Don, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg.

Visa Application Centres will accept applications for visas of different categories (visitor visas, permits to study and work). Each visa application center provides the following services:

  • answer questions in local languages and make sure that applications are complete
  • transmit application documents and passports to the visa office securely
  • return passport and decision documents securely
  • offer a tracking service
  • schedule interviews and provide application photographs and photocopies for a fee
  • provide access to a computer to apply online (study, work permits and visitor visa only)
  • collect biometrics (fingerprints and photograph)

The information about each visa application center is available at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/offices/vac.asp

All visa centers are operated by VFS Global , which provides outsourcing services and technological support for the diplomatic missions and governments worldwide. VFS Global has 1030 visa centers and operates in 81 countries on the five continents.


Great Britain and Ireland Declare an Intention to Create a Uniform Visa

In the Fall 2013, the governments of 2 countries – the UK and Ireland – are going to introduce a new visa scheme to attract more foreigners; it will allow tourists and business travelers to enter the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland with a single visa.

This project is reflected by the recently published report on economic cooperation between the two countries.

It is also planned to issue uniform entry permits by the united visa centers abroad.

As early as 2011, Ireland simplified the visa requirements for tourists of non-European countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which had a valid UK visa. This approach paid off. During the first year of the new regulations, the Republic of Ireland has got nearly a quarter more citizens of these countries; therefore, the program is going to be extended until 2016.


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