Highly skilled specialists in Russia – Good news and bad news

The good news is that on 2 March 2015 the two-year ban on employers who had previously been held administratively liable for the unlawful engagement of foreign employees in labour activities in the Russian Federation was lifted.
The bad news is that the same changes, when seeking to clarify when a two-year ban can still be imposed on employers, includes a concept of the employer not fulfilling its contractual obligations to a foreign highly skilled specialist. Interpreted strictly, this could mean that any employer that does not fulfill all of their contractual obligations could be subject to a two-year ban on hiring foreign highly skilled specialists.
Whether or not an employer is subject to the ban is an important issue. Highly skilled specialists are exempt from the requirements to obtain certificates in Russian language, Russian law and Russian history that have been applicable to applicants for “ordinary” work permits since 1 January 2015.
Further clarifications on the imposition of such bans on the engagement of highly skilled specialists are expected from the Federal Migration Service. In the meantime, we would advise you that the employer's obligations in employment contracts with highly skilled specialists are carefully and clearly set out, and that the employer then carefully monitors these to ensure they are complying with such obligations.
Should you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to contact our experts.