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RUSSIA: New Labor Regulations for Foreigners

As of December 12, 2014, all employers of foreign nationals must:

  • Sign unlimited term agreements with foreign employees, with a number of exceptions such as labor agreements with general directors or chief accountants and/or when the employer is a representative or branch office;
  • Include in the labor agreements with foreign nationals details confirming the right of a foreign national to perform work activities in Russia, including work permits, work patents, and temporary or permanent residence permits; and
  • Include in the labor agreements with foreign nationals details of the medical insurance offered, including either a medical insurance certificate or agreement between the employer and insurance company for provision of medical insurance. Medical insurance supplied by the employer must include the right to first aid and immediate medical care.

As of December 12, 2014, all employers of foreign nationals have the right to:

  • Transfer a foreign employee to another position within the company for a period limited to one month within a calendar year without first applying for a work permit amendment; and
  • Suspend a foreign employee from work activities for up to one month if the employee's work permit expires. Previously employers were required to terminate labor agreements with this category of foreign employee.

Background. As of December 12, 2014, a new chapter was introduced to the Russian Labor Code to regulate employment of foreign nationals and stateless persons in Russia. The Russian Labor Code fully applies to foreign nationals, except for a number of specific rules introduced by the new chapter and migration legislation.

The most important provision of the new legislation is that employers and lawyers are no longer divided by the dilemma about whether to sign limited-term or unlimited-term labor agreements with foreign employees. Now the legislation explicitly states that as a general rule an unlimited term labor agreement must be signed.

The second clarification came in the form of regulations regarding medical insurance for foreign nationals. Previously, the law did not contain any specific guidelines as to what services medical insurance should include. With the new legislation, employers must ensure that the medical insurance they provide to their foreign employees guarantees first aid and immediate medical care.

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