September 5, 2013

On August 3 and August 9, 2013 several new regulations came into force, increasing penalties for various offences. In addition, a new electronic application process for invitation letters has officially been introduced. Unfortunately, due to implementation problems this is not properly working at this time.

Penalties 

With the new regulations the Russian authorities try to more effectively repulse foreigners from Russia who are, or have been, noncompliant with local and/or immigration laws. Sponsoring companies will also face severe penalties if they fail to notify the authorities when required to do so (including, but not limited to, certain changes in employment and personal details, as well as the August 9 changes described below).

New regulations as of August 3, 2013:

  • A ban from entering Russia for 5 years applies if a foreigner has been fined for violation of public order, public security and/or migration legislation for 2 or more times within 1 year;
  • A foreigner who has been deported for more than 2 times cannot enter for 10 years;
  • Foreigners having been subject to administrative expulsion or deportation will be banned for 5 years, and for 10 years if a second decision on administrative expulsion or deportation has been carried out for the same person;
  • Foreigners who have an unquenched conviction for a serious crime can now also be denied entrance to Russia.

New regulations as of August 9, 2013:

  • Penalties for non-compliance by labor migrants, including violation of address registration rules, have been increased in Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Moscow and Leningrad regions to fines ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 rubles, plus deportation. Outside of these regions the fines for the same violations range from 2,000 to 5,000 RUB, and deportation;
  • Foreigners failing to notify the authorities of loss of their documentation confirming their legal status in Russia are now subject to penalties, ranging from 2,000 – 5,000 RUB and deportation; higher penalties apply for residents of Moscow and its region, and St-Petersburg and its region;
  • Employers can be fined up to a maximum of 800,000 RUB (1 million RUB for companies in Moscow and its region, and in St-Petersburg and its region) if they fail to notify the tax authorities of the termination of employment of a standard work permit holder, or of an unpaid leave of more than one month; a suspension of the company’s operations for 14-90 days can also be imposed.

Special holding centers for deportable migrants are currently being established in many cities to facilitate the expected increase in deportations.

Change in Process to Apply for Invitation Letters 

The Federal Migration Service (FMS) has introduced new administrative regulations, creating the possibility to apply for electronic Invitation Letters through the State Service Portal. However, consulates abroad are still mostly requesting invitations issued by the UFMS, which can only be obtained by submitting paper-based applications to the UFMS. It is therefore unclear at this moment who is able to make use of this new application process.

Processing times for the application of invitation letters have also officially been shortened to 20 days instead of 30 days, however, currently the implementation of the new process and the volume peak in the summer season are causing delays of 5 to 10 business days with respect to these new official processing times.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS 

Both sponsoring companies and foreign employees in Russia should be aware of the increased attention to, and penalties for, non-compliance with respect to immigration regulations as well as local Russian law. They should especially note that offences now can have long term effects on the ability of a foreign employee to return to Russia – either for work, business or tourism – even for as long as the coming decade.

Although processing times for Invitation Letters have officially decreased, applicants should at the moment expect the processing of their Invitation Letter to take a similar amount of time as before the new regulation came into effect.

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Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Knowledge Management team. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in Russia to provide you this update.

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