According to Section 13.2 of the Federal Law "The Rights of Foreign Citizens", there is a category known as Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS) who are defined as employeed, whose salaries total no less than 167,000 roubles per month. The visa status of such employees is irrelevant, and they may be citizens of countries requiring Russian visas, or of countries who require no visa to enter Russia. Work Permits for HQS are issued for periods of up to 3 years, and are not subject to quota impositions according to the type of specialised work they do. Furthermore, Work Permits can be issued to cover several Federal Regions of Russia simultaneously.
Having received a Work Permit, the company of the employer is obliged to make quarterly reports to the applicable offices of the UMFS section of the Domestic Affairs Ministry of Russia to confirm the completion of the statutory obligations to pay the salary of the Highly Qualified Specialist.
If the HQS should cease their employment with this employer for any reason, including the expiration of their Contract of Employment, the employer is required within 3 working days to make a statement of the end of the Contract of Employment.
A work visa for a Highly Qualified Specialist is issued on the basis of the period of their Work Permit — i.e for up to 3 years.
HQS — organising a Work Permit
Organising and issuing a Work Permit for a Highly Qualified Specialist, prolonging its validity period, making amendments, or cancelling it all take place within the provision of administrative regulations (FMS of RF Order № 1, Ministry of Health & Social Development RF Order № 4, Transport Ministry RF Order № 1, Fishing Ministry Order № 2 of 11-01-2008). The primary rules which regulate the labour activity of HQS staff in Russia are stipulated in section 13.2 of the Federal Legal Regulations for Foreign Nationals in the Russian Federation (adopted as Federal Law on 19-05-2010 № 86-FZ).
The benefits of HQS-status for employees and employers
When registering documents
- a simplified procedure of registration, outside the quota system, without requiring the employer to make application for the hiring or use of foreign staff, and job title outside the classification rules of OKDTPR
- a simplified list of documents to be submitted
- Work Permits can be made out in several Russian Regions provided that the employer can show registered work premises in such Regions
- The validity period of the Work Permit can be for up to 3 years
- The processing period for the Work Permit application is reduced to 14 days
- Invitations for Work Visa applications have the same period of validity as indicated in the Work Permit and are processed in parallel
- The Work Visa is issued by the Consular Representation of the RF abroad for the entire period of the invitation's validity
- In cases where the foreign applicant has previously held a working visa from a former employer, it can be reassigned to the new company without requiring the applicant to leave the RF
For accompanying family members
- HQS staff enjoy a wider list of members of their family who may accompany them, and thus obtain appropriate visas which are issued in the prescribed manner with legalised documents which confirm their familial relationship.
- Accompanying family members of HQS staff have the right to take up employment using their visa as an accompanying family member, when taking up employment with a simplified documentary procedure.
With the migration register
HQS staff and members of their family have the opportunity to register on with the migration authorities within 90 days from the moment of their arrival in RF.
For taxation obligations
- The concept of a tax-resident person does not apply to HQS staff. The salary of this category of foreign staffer is subject to the standard rate of taxation of 13% applying to the incomes of private individuals, from their first day of paid employment.
- Employers pay only FCC tax – which for office-based staff is normally 0.2%.
For obtaining permanent status
Highly Qualified Specialist staff and members of their families have the right to arrange Residency Permits through a simplified procedure based on the validity period of their Work Permits.