The service developed by the Federal Migration Service of the RF and the Association of European Businesses for Highly Qualified Specialists (HQSs) is a completely new solution without parallel. Before, in order to receive a work permit for a specialist in Russia, company representatives had to visit the offices of the FMS on several occasions, and present all documentation in paper format. Often this required much time and effort, so the idea of creating a special service arose, one which allows employers/representatives from a foreign company to submit applications and all accompanying documents in an electronic format. In addition, all document originals are presented at a visit in person to the FMS of Russia to pick up the papers which, by then, will have been processed. In such a way, the number of trips to various departments of the FMS of Russia is reduced to just the one.
It should be pointed out straight away that only companies which are part of the Association of European Businesses are able to make use of this new service. To do so, the company must be registered on the system, and for the AEB to confirm that it is indeed an Association member. Once registered, the company will have access to all of the services provided by the FMS. Company representatives should put together the whole package of documents needed to apply for the Highly Qualified Specialist work permit, and send it to the AEB by email. The package of documents will be examined by the Association and, if it is free of errors, it will be sent on to the FMS. The Federal Migration Service will check the documents once more and, if everything has been filled in correctly, they will send confirmation that the documents have been accepted. Over the course of 14 working days, the documents will be subjected to a full inspection. On the 15th working day, the work permit will be ready for issue and it will be possible to receive it in person on presentation of the original documents previously downloaded electronically.
Unveiling the service, Director of the FMS of Russia, Konstantin Romodanovsky declared that the status of Highly Qualified Specialist confers upon foreigners unprecedented benefits. Directors of many foreign companies often ask us what benefits these are. Experts with high levels of skills coming to work in Russia are indeed provided with a range of benefits. Amongst them being the issuing of a work permit and visa which is valid for 3 years both for the employee himself and for accompanying members of his family. By comparison, ordinary specialists are issued with a visa and permit valid for no longer than a year. The HQS has 90 days to register at his place of residence, whereas the ordinary citizen has to do so within seven working days.
Aside from which, the process whereby one is granted a permit is becoming much simpler and quicker. All documents can be submitted electronically, and the permit can be received in as soon as 14 working days. Usually this process takes at least two months. Also, there are no quotas or permits applicable to a company relating to the courting of a foreign expert. Amongst other benefits are, for example, not requiring a medical certificate, and there are a host of other concessions.
We are also often asked, in which sectors of the Russian economy foreign professionals are utilized the most. In light of the sanctions against Russia, how is the Russian labour market changing? According to our figures, the number of foreigners coming to Russia has dropped by 30%, which is linked to new projects being suspended. That said, the all-out “exodus” of foreigners, as mentioned in the press, has not come to pass. In terms of individual industries and sectors, it is only with the oil companies that a substantial reduction of the number of experts coming here to work has occurred: the remaining sectors of Russia’s economy have stayed at much the same level.