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RUSSIA: Employers Must Submit Forecasts to Sponsor Foreign Workers by May 1

The work permit numerical limit for 2012 is 1,745,584; employers wishing to sponsor foreign workers in Russia in 2013 must submit their forecasts before May 1, 2012; the Federal Migration Service of Russia has penalized performers.

The Russian government has announced that the work permit numerical limit (quota) for 2012 is 1,745,584. The quota has not changed significantly since last year and permits will continue to be distributed among the various regions in the country. Companies wishing to sponsor foreign workers in Russia in 2013 must submit their forecasts to the local labor authorities before May 1, 2012.

 There is also a list of 41 positions that are quota-exempt. Several new positions have been added to the quota-exempt position list since last year, including design engineers, electrical engineers, and technicians, among others. Also included on the list are circus performers, sound engineers, engineer-welders, ringmasters, and drilling technicians. Work permits for highly skilled professionals continue to be quota-exempt but such positions must meet strict salary requirements.

In other news, the Federal Migration Service of Russia has penalized bands that performed on March 9, 2012, at the "Disco of the 90s" show. Among others were bands such as Snap, East-17, La Bouche, and Culture Beat. Artists and signers did not have work permits, only tourist visas. Penalties ranged from US$80 to US$160. Organizers were assessed penalties of US$25,000.

This precedent makes clear that the Federal Migration Service sees the main criteria as the type of activity that will be conducted in Russia and not the period of stay. Before this action, no such penalties were imposed. Russian immigration legislation does not stipulate a special visa for foreign artists and signers, so they will have to obtain either a standard work permit for one year, which takes three months to receive and is subject to numerical limits, or a "Highly Qualified Specialist" work permit for three years. This also raises tax issues.

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