RUSSIA: Recent and Upcoming Immigration Changes
Effective immediately, the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry has established an official form for notifying the de-registration of foreign nationals.
Moreover, details have emerged of a new requirement for employers of foreign labour to ensure that their foreign national employees are vaccinated against measles.
Finally, a new law, effective 1 November 2019, amends the rules for obtaining temporary and permanent residence permits for certain categories of foreign nationals.
The new address de-registration form is to be submitted by the inviting party to the regional office of the Internal Affairs Ministry where the address registration was completed, either in person or via a Multifunctional State Service Centre (MSSC) or a post office.
Optional address de-registration was introduced in October 2018. It is recommended for employers if their foreign employee has left their registered place of stay in Russia and ceases any connection with the employer.
However, note that employers of foreign nationals who perform rotational shift work and who leave the place of work at which they have been registered, must notify the Internal Affairs Ministry of the deregistration within seven business days.
In accordance with the decree issued on 6 March 2019 by the Chief State Sanitary Officer, employers engaging foreign labour have until 31 December 2019 to arrange to vaccinate all foreign nationals they employ against measles unless they have had this infection in the past, or have already been vaccinated.
According to recent commentary by the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor), employers must be able to confirm their compliance with this requirement using documents issued by a medical organization which provided vaccination services, and/or documents confirming that their foreign national employees do not require vaccination.
Foreign nationals can confirm that they have had measles, or have already been vaccinated, or are exempt from vaccination by presenting a vaccination certificate or a medical certificate, stamped by a medical organization licensed to practise immunization and signed by a doctor. Documents issued outside Russia must be duly legalized (apostilled) and translated into Russian. Translations must be notarized.
Employees can submit a written refusal of vaccination to the employer. However, in certain sectors, including agriculture, food preparation, forestry, education and certain medical work, the employer in this case must suspend them.
Non-compliant employers can face fines of between 10 000 and 20 000 RUB, or administrative suspension of the company's operations for up to 90 days.
The Russian president has signed a new federal law, effective 1 November 2019, simplifying procedures for obtaining temporary residence permits (TRPs) and permanent residence permits (PRPs).
Note that TRPs and PRPs will now be annulled if the holder spends more than six months abroad in total during a calendar year.
Temporary Residence Permits
Certain categories of foreign nationals will no longer be subject to the government’s annual TRP quota; Processing times will be reduced from six to four months.
Permanent Residence Permits
New categories of foreign citizens may apply for a permanent residence permit (PRP) without first holding a temporary residence permit (TRP) for at least one year. These new categories include, among others, highly qualified specialists who have worked in Russia for six months in certain positions (established by the Ministry of Labour) including doctors and other medical professionals, engineers, locksmiths, technical professionals and electricians. Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS) and their family members will receive PRPs valid for three years, while other categories will receive unlimited PRPs. A PRP will have to be renewed when the holder becomes 14, 20 or 45 years of age, and in case of change of personal details. PRP applications can now be submitted when the applicant is ready. PRP holders will no longer be penalised for submitting their annual PRP notification more than two months after the end of the twelve-month period, as long as they submit the notification within six months of the end of the twelve-month period and include documents justifying the late notification. Foreign nationals who live permanently in Russia and have a parent, adoptive parent, guardian or child who is a *Russian citizen will now be exempt from the Russian language, history and legal knowledge examination.
Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.