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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Work Permits: A Guide To Law and Procedures

Guidance on the implementation of the work permit regulations introduced by the Dec. 16, 1993 presidential decree has been offered by the Moscow Migration Service, Migratsionnaya Sluzhba.

Foreign representative offices are not mentioned among the organizations whose staff require work permits. If a member of staff has personal accreditation he does not need a permit but the position of other staff is unclear. Some firms assume that they should have work permits and the Migration Service has issued permits in such cases.

There are two procedures for applying for permission to work, one for managers and specialists and the other for unskilled workers.

The first category requires "confirmation of the right to work." Applications should be in the form of a letter addressed to the chief of the Moscow Migration Service, naming the individuals for whom confirmation is required and their position. It must be accompanied by a list of the staff requiring confirmation with their passport details and addresses, copies of the employer's constitutional documents, copies of their contracts of employment and a form obtainable from the Migration Service.

The documents should be given to the Moscow Department of Labor and Employment for consideration by the Migration Service. The decision should be made within a week. The fee is 15 times the minimum wage, i.e. 219,300 rubles (about $127), payable for each employee whose right to employment is confirmed.

There is no exhaustive list of specialists but confirmation will probably be granted to experienced staff with professional qualifications and to interpreters and bilingual secretaries or those with word processing skills. If the employer wants to take on foreign unskilled staff in Russia he first has to convince the Moscow government, which is concerned about rising unemployment, of the need for such staff. The application is considered by a special commission of the Department of Labor and Employment, which may take 45 days. It is very difficult to obtain and it might be better to try the "specialist" route on the grounds that staff such as builders are skilled and trained bricklayers, etc.

If permission is granted, the same documents required for the confirmation application are submitted and a quota is given. Individual applications for work permits can then be made. There is a fee equivalent to the minimum wage -- 14,620 rubles.

Apart from those with accreditation, work permits are required for staff who are here for more than a month whether the job is full time or part time. The decree does not say what happens in the case of an employee who visits Russia frequently for, say, a month at a time.

Marcia Levy, an attorney with Norton Rose, has been practicing law in Moscow for three years.