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Russia: Easier Procedures for Migrant Workers

(Mar. 8, 2010) On February 26, 2010, the State Duma (legislature) of the Russian Federation approved on a first reading and accepted for further consideration amendments to the nation's legislation on migration that were proposed by the Cabinet of Ministers. (Press Release, State Duma, and information on the bill [in Russian], Duma official website, (last visited Mar. 4, 2010).) The bill provides for the introduction of a labor license for migrant workers from the countries whose citizens do not need visas to enter Russia. According to the bill, a migrant who wants to work in Russia must purchase a license, which legitimates his employment. Licenses will be issued for one-month periods with unrestricted possibilities for renewal. The price of a license will be approximately equal to US$40.

It is expected that this amendment will affect mostly those individuals who work as nannies, household assistants, gardeners, etc. This group of migrants will not be included in the annual quotas for migrant workers established by the federal government. These licenses will be issued by local branches of the Federal Migration Service, upon receipt of payments and the applicants' photographs and fingerprints. Payment receipts for each month will serve as a confirmation of the license renewal and validity.

The bill also foresees a simplified registration procedure for highly skilled foreigners who are invited to Russia by their prospective employers. Such individuals and their family members will receive legal residency rights for the duration of the labor contract.

Under the bill, the Russian national taxation regime (a 13% flat tax on all forms of income) is extended to migrant workers who reside in Russia more than 183 days per year. The bill states that for this specific category of employees, the employer will be responsible for providing the migrant workers with health insurance, social benefits, and residences.

Employers must inform the authorities about any termination of a contract and if they grant employees leave for a period of one month or more. (Members of the Duma Approved Introduction of Licenses for Migrants [in Russian], NEWSRU.COM, Feb. 26, 2010, available at