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 employees, 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 (except for citizens of the EAEU and Ukraine). 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 specialized 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 MIA to confirm the completion of the statutory obligations to pay the salary of HQS.
If the HQS should cease their employment with this employer for any reason, including the expiration of their contract, the employer is required within 3 working days to submit a notification of the end of the contract .
Work visa for HQS is issued on the basis of the period of their work permit, i.e for up to 3 years.
HQS — organizing and issuing a Work Permit
Registration of a work permit for the HQS takes place on the basis of an employment (civil law) contract signed by the parties. At the same time, the employer's obligation to pay salary arises only after the employee receives a work permit.
The benefits of HQS-status for employees and employers
- Simplified procedure for registration out of quotas, without obtaining a permit to engage and use foreign workers by the employer
- Simplified list of documents to submit;
- Work permit may be issued for several regions if the employer has registered separate divisions;
- The validity period of the work permit can be up to 3 years;
- Work permit processing period - 14 working days;
- Invitation for a work visa valid for the duration of the work permit and is prepared simultaneously with the work permit;
- Work visa is issued at a consular institution of the Russian Federation abroad for the entire duration of the invitation;
- If a foreign employee already has a previously issued work visa from another employer, its re-issuance to the new company is carried out without leaving the country;
- Medical examination of HQS and his family members may take place once every 3 years
- When extending a work permit, the validity period of his multiple-entry work visa and visas of accompanying family members may be extended without leaving the Russian Federation.
For accompanying family members
- HQ has an expanded list of accompanying family members who can obtain the appropriate visas if they provide properly legalized documents confirming kinship
Accompanying members of the HQS family are a spouse, children and their spouses, parents, grandparents, grandchildren.
- Accompanying family members of HQS have the right to work on the visa of the accompanying family member, when applying for a work permit, for which a separate simplified procedure is also provided.;
- HQS and their family members have the opportunity to make the registration within 90 days from the moment of entry into the Russian Federation;
- HQS and their family members, after being registered in one region and when moving across the Russian Federation, have the right not to register for within 30 days.
Regarding tax obligations
- The salary of HQS from the first day of work is subject to 13% personal income tax, and not 30% as when applying for a regular work permit, where recalculation at a rate of 13% can be made only after 6 months of stay in the Russian Federation.
- The employer pays only tax to the Social Insurance Fund, for office workers it is usually 0.2%.
Regarding obtaining permanent status
HQS and his family members have the right to submit documents for a special residence permit in a simplified regime for the duration of the work permit. In the future, if certain conditions are met, the HQS residence permit can be transferred to permanent (indefinite).