Russia: Changes to Immigration Laws

What has changed?

A series of changes to Russian immigration laws have recently been announced by the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) which will include the creation of a new Investment Visitor Visa and tougher penalties for non-compliance.

Some of the new rules are already in force and others are still at the implementation stages.

Investment Visitor Visa

This new visa category is designed for partners, representatives and business visitors from foreign companies with a presence in Russia, who will invest funds in the Russian economy.  The maximum duration of the visa will be five years.

Significantly, applicants will be able to apply for the visa directly with a Russian consular post without the need for obtaining an official invitation letter from the FMS first.

It is expected that the Russian Government will compose and maintain a list of overseas companies whose business representatives may qualify for this visa.

We do not have any further information regarding specific for requirements for this visa at present, but will provide an update when this is available.

Other Changes introduced by the FMS

Further changes to Russian immigration laws can be summarised as follows:

  • Entry ban for overstayers: The FMS has instigated a crackdown on visa and immigration fraud.   Any foreign national who intentionally overstays their Visitor Visa by 30 days or more will face an entry ban lasting for up to three years. 
  • Increased financial penalties for non-compliance: Any Russian company or individual found to be involved in arranging or facilitating the illegal entry or employment of a foreign national will face a fine of up to 300,00 roubles (approximately £6,400).
  • Electronic submission of application documents introduced: Effective from the 1st January 2013, Russian employers are now permitted to submit scanned copies of the documents required to support an employee”s application, as part of an electronic application to the FMS when requesting most immigration benefits. 
  • Employment Permit no longer required for TRP holders: The Temporary Residence Permit is a three year visa for foreign nationals seeking long term residence status based on family sponsorship and other non-employment related categories.  Previously, Temporary Residence Permit holders had to request their Russian employers to file an application for an Employment/Work Permit on their behalf.  However, effective January 1st 2013, TRP holders who wish to take up employment no longer require an Employment/Work permit before they can do so.

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