January 29, 2016

For over 15 years, Turkish and Russian citizens have enjoyed visa-free travel between the two countries covering short stays (up to 30 days); however, escalating tensions over several 2015 political and military events have suspended these agreements.

Effective January 1, 2016, by official decree from the President of the Russian Federation, visa-free entry into Russia for Turkish citizens has been suspended and new restrictions on Russian companies sponsoring Turkish nationals have been implemented. Furthermore, the Russian Federal Migration Services have announced that they are not currently accepting visa applications for Turkish nationals.

What’s Changed?

Although many of these changes may appear minor in nature, there are some significant implications both for Turkish nationals residing or visiting Russia and Russian companies employing Turkish citizens.

Turkish Nationals Currently Residing in Russia

Turkish nationals currently holding Russian Temporary Residence Permits (RVP), Permanent Residence Permits (VNZh), and diplomatic representatives may continue to reside in Russia for the validity of their permits. However, exit from- and re-entry into Russia for these individuals will be difficult, and renewal of their current work and residence permits is anticipated to be extremely difficult.

Turkish nationals who entered Russia visa-free before January 1, 2016, may remain in the country without a visa for the maximum 30-day single stay as previously allowed.

Russian Companies Employing Turkish Nationals

The decree also held significant new regulations for Russian companies currently employing, or with future plans to employ, Turkish citizens:

• Russian companies will not be permitted to increase the number of Turkish nationals that they employ. They will, however, be able to “substitute” one Turkish employee for another.
• The process for Russian companies to renew Work and/or Residence Permits for current Turkish employees may be time consuming and challenging.

As there is a significant demand for the Turkish labor force in Russia, the Russian authorities have published a list of 53 companies in Russia who are exempt from these new hiring restrictions.

How These Changes Affect You

This announcements will have effect on both Russian companies and Turkish citizens.

For Turkish nationals currently visiting or residing in Russia (or for those who have future plans to visit/reside in Russia), these new regulations significantly affect their travel and stay. Turkish citizens in this position must plan their current stay and/or future travels into Russia carefully and well in advance as processing times may be considerably slower for this population. Please reach out to your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist should there be any specific questions or concerns regarding Turkish citizens’ stay in Russia.

In addition, Russian companies should take careful note of the new regulations and how they may affect current and/or future Turkish employees. Not only will it be difficult to renew current work and residence permits for their Turkish employees, but (at long as the decree is in place) companies not included in the exemption list will also not be able to hire additional Turkish employees.

It remains unknown how long the decree and its new regulations will be in effect; however, it is assumed that significant improvements in political relations between Russia and Turkey must first occur before any progress is made. Also unknown is whether Turkish authorities will implement counter measures against Russian citizens.

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. We would like to remind you that Immigration laws are fluid and can change at a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your immigration specialist or your client relations manager at Pro-Link GLOBAL should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by your Pro-Link GLOBAL Knowledge Management team. We worked with our PLG | KGNM Russia Offices “Intermark Relocations,” “Move One, Inc.,” and “Smithbridge Advisory Services LLC” to provide you this update.

Information contained in this Global Brief is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department (km@pro-linkglobal.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.

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