April 3, 2015

Foreign nationals who earn more than 2,000,000 rubles per year (or a lower amount for some specific groups) are considered Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS). Applicants filing their work permit as HQS benefit from various exemptions to parts of the standard work permit process, including not being subject to quota or having to carry out a Work Force Demand, not requiring a Corporate Work Permit or Visa Extension, and an exemption from undergoing a medical examination. On March 8, 2015 a new Federal Law has been signed by the President which dictates that as of April 24, 2015 a new method will be used to calculate the required salary for a HQS. As of that date the salary requirement will not be enforced on an annual basis, but will be calculated on a monthly basis.

The new monthly salary requirements will be as follows:

• 58,500 rubles per month for residents of Technology Innovative Special Economic Zones (SEZ);
• 83,500 rubles per month for the following types of foreign nationals:

¤ scientists or teachers working under state accredited programs at institutions of higher education, state academies, scientific-research centers and state scientific centers;
¤ residents of Industrial Production SEZ, Tourism and Recreational SEZ or Port SEZ;
¤ those working in the field of IT at government-accredited organizations;
working for legal entities carrying out their activities in the territories of the ¤Republic of Crimea and the federal city Sevastopol.

• 167,000 rubles per month for other foreign nationals*.

* Note that foreign nationals involved with the “Skolkovo” innovation center project implementation are exempt from needing to fulfil any salary requirements.

Although the salary requirements will be defined on a monthly basis beginning on April 24, in practice they will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. More specifically, the authorities will verify if the total salary as reported in the quarterly salary notification to the FMS is equal to or higher than 3 times the monthly minimum salary requirement applicable to the specific foreign national. It should be noted that this requirement also applies if the foreign national’s employment would be temporarily disrupted, for example due to illness, pregnancy, or unpaid leave. Failure to comply with the new (3-)monthly salary requirement can have serious consequences, up to a ban being imposed on the company from recruiting new HQS during a two year period.

Pro-Link GLOBAL advises companies to review the employment contracts of their HQS for any mention of monthly salaries that are below the above listed new salary requirements, and to amend them where needed to meet the new requirement. Employment contracts that do not specifically mention monthly salary amounts and meet the required annual salary do not need to be amended at this time, since at the moment there is no new related act yet that dictates that the salary in the employment contract should be defined in monthly terms.

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.

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