March 27, 2013

Russia’s Federal Labor and Employment Service (FELS) is reminding Russian companies of the need to file their foreign labor forecasts for 2014 to determine the number of “quota” work permits that will be available for companies to sponsor overseas workers.

FELS has also issued notices of alleged labor violations to certain Russian companies regarding their employment of foreign workers, which may affect these companies’ ability to request quota and non-quota work permits in 2013. Russia’s Federal Migration Service (UFMS) has also issued new protocol guidelines on where to file invitation letter and work permit applications for sponsoring Highly-Qualified Specialist (HQS) foreign workers.

Applying for 2014 Work Permit Quotas

Each calendar year the Russian labor and employment services require Russian companies registered with the FELS Quota Allocation Center to submit their forecast of foreign labor needs for the following year.

As the 2013 annual work permit quotas and non-quota positions have been announced here.

Russian companies should review the number of allotments granted against their forecast submitted in 2012 to ascertain what types of positions were approved and the number of work permit slots actually granted for 2013. This would also include reviewing which foreign workers will require renewal of their work permits in 2014.

After assessing their labor forecasts, Russian companies should submit their quota allocations to their territorial labor and employment services no later than May 1, 2013.

Impact of Receiving “Violations” Letters

In 2012, many Russian companies that filed foreign labor forecasts requesting quota work permit allocations for the year 2013 received from territorial labor service notices rejecting their allocation requests over alleged labor violations.

The reasons for alleged violations ranged from generic reasons such as “not eliminated violations of employment of foreign nationals and use of quotas within previous years and the current 2012” as well as “possibility to find local (Russian) labor force for substitution of the vacancies” to alleged, specific failure to pay appropriate incomes taxes on foreign worker salaries.

Currently, a recent decision by the Interdepartmental Committee for Employment of Foreign Nationals Companies is posing concern that a number of companies whose quotas were initially approved could also receive notification letters informing the company may lose their quota.

More so, there is additional concern that those companies that receive violations notices may also face possible loss of ability to sponsor non-quota positions. The only exception would be the ability to continue to sponsor non-quota work permits for Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nationals*.

Changes in HQS Application Protocols

Since February 2013 there has been a change in state authorities and their functions processing work permits and invitation letters for HQS applicants.

For regions outside the Moscow region, HQS invitation letters and work permit applications must be filed with their local UFMS. Current processing times are taking between 14-16 days.

For HQS applications filed in Moscow, the UFMS is now issuing invitation letters and processing applications. Processing times are estimated between 15-17 days.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Russian company HR should work with the Global Assignments program directors to ascertain 2014 staffing needs to include both new workers and renewing existing worker permits.

If the Russian company HR receives a “violations” letter, or has already received notification of a rejected quota for 2013, presently, the company has only two options to sponsor employment of foreign nationals:

  • To file a quota amendment application for the year 2013. Companies should file documentation showing the lack of the alleged violations or explain why current positions cannot be readily assumed by Russian nationals.
  • Companies are advised that there will be no guarantee of approval to remove the freeze on the company’s quotas. It is anticipated that it may take at least two months for review of applications.
  • Russian companies file applications for HQS workers.

For those companies receiving violation letters, it is recommended they write the Labor Department in Moscow requesting further clarification on the specific laws allegedly violated.

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 Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office Russia to provide you this update.

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