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RUSSIA: Quotes for Foreign Wokers & Associated Porcedures are Causing Problems

Quotas for foreign workers and associated procedures are causing problems.

Russia's national quota system requires companies to forecast the number of foreign workers they will need to hire in the following year. The most sensitive current issue in Russian immigration is the quotas set for these workers and their associated procedures and problems.

Many companies that filed quota applications for the year 2013 got a full rejection in 2012. The government's reasons varied, but the most common included "have not eliminated violations of employment of foreign nationals and use of quotas within previous years and 2012" as well as "the possibility to find local (Russian) labor instead."

A number of companies whose quotas were initially approved may also lose them due to a recent decision of the Interdepartmental Committee on the Employment of Foreign Nationals. The reasons for this rejection may include: "violation of labor legislation with reference to occupational safety and health"; "non-compliance with terms and complete payment of salary as well as firing of Russian employees to replace them with foreign nationals"; "violation of tax legislation with reference to late payment of taxes as well as companies taken off the tax records and in the process of liquidation"; "lack of notification of employment centers on employment of foreign nationals"; "non-compliance with law #90 dated December 22, 1994, on quota allocation of workplaces"; and "lack of notification of employment centers on existing vacant positions."

The same Interdepartmental Committee issued a resolution stating that companies whose quota applications for 2013 were rejected will not be able to obtain employment permits (and hence work permits) for non-quota positions either. In such instances, the Labor Department will issue a Conclusion on the unreasonable employment of foreign workers, and the Federal Migration Service will issue an official refusal of employment permit processing. Observers do not expect this to affect processing of non-quota work permits for Commonwealth of Independent States (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine) nationals because the application is filed and processed only by the Federal Migration Service and the Labor Department of Moscow is not involved.

If a company's 2013 quota was rejected, it has only two options to employ foreign nationals:

  1. File a quota amendment application for the year 2013. The company will need to file additional documents confirming the lack of a violation or explain why Russian nationals cannot fill current positions (depending on the reason for initial rejection). There is no guarantee that the application will be approved. It usually takes at least two months for the government to review the application.
  2. Process a "highly qualified specialist" work permit.
Companies whose applications were rejected by mistake should send an official query to the Labor Department for Moscow with a request to provide clarification.

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