Russia Relaxes Rules For Expats


Expat workers and investors will find moving to Russia easier after a raft of new immigration laws for were introduced.

The laws will essentially make it much easy for wealthier investors to relocate to the country but employees too will find the process easier.

The main change by the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) is the introduction of the Investment Visitor Visa which is valid for five years and aimed at partners, business visitors and representatives of foreign firms operating and investing money in Russia.

There are no details for the visa yet but it is expected that there will be a register of foreign firms and their representatives who will be allowed to apply for the visa.

Strict rules

The biggest boon for applicants interested in this visa is that they can apply directly to a Russian consulate and not have to wait for the FMS’ official invitation letter.

They can also apply using scanned versions of the applicant’s supporting documentation.

However, the penalties for abusing this visa process are severe and include an entry ban for up to three years for anyone who has intentionally overstayed their visa by 30 days.

The Russian individual or organisation which helps arrange the illegal entry or employment of a foreign national will face a fine of up to £6,300.

The FMS has also made changes to the Russian temporary residency which runs for three years but which is now the first stage to the five year Permanent Residence visa.

The biggest change is that applicants no longer need to apply for the employment or work visas.

Skilled workers needed

A spokesman for the FMS said: “The changes are being introduced to help meet Russia’s skilled migration and foreign labour needs.

“Those businesses which are looking at undertaking assignments in Russia should also prepare for further changes as further new immigration laws will be introduced.

“However, companies in Russia and their HR departments should note the increase in fines should someone overstay their visa. We are also strongly advising employees and their families to continually monitor their stay to avoid inadvertently overstaying.”

The latest rule changes follow a number of improvements in recent years which has seen the FMS bring in changes which make it quicker and easier to apply for a working visa to help attract international talent to its jobs market.

The FMS has also brought in a rule which requires all migrant workers to register with the country’s tax authorities within three days of arriving in Russia.

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