Russian Parliament to adopt changes to HQS procedure effective 1 September 2022

We would like to inform you that a draft law has been introduced to the State Duma of Russia on amendments to the procedure of hiring HQS in Russia, including an increase in the minimum salary level and the possibility of obtaining an indefinite residence permit by HQS and their family members.

What are the proposed changes?

The draft law proposes the following:

1. The minimum salary level (MSL) for HQS will be set in the amount of at least RUB 750,000 per quarter (instead of RUB 167,000 per month). The reduced MSL requirements for certain categories of employers defined in the current legislation on HQS (accredited IT companies, participants of the Skolkovo project and some others) will remain unchanged.

 Intermark comment

"Since the MSL is a criterion for recognizing an employee as a highly qualified specialist, we believe that the increase in the MSL will affect all HQS, including those already working in Russia. However, there is no full clarity yet, because amendments may still be made to the draft law."

2. For the purpose of filing initial and renewal work permit applications for HQS, it will be necessary to submit a copy of the employment contract certified by the employer instead of an original copy.

3. The requirement to provide a migration registration for submitting an HQS work permit renewal application will be excluded from the law.

4. HQS work permit may be requested for several Russian regions only for the purpose of working at registered subdivisions, branch or representative offices or interdependent entities located in relevant regions.

◆ Intermark comment

"Having registered offices in all regions included in a work permit is a long-standing practical requirement of the migration authorities. This change will formalize it in the law." 

5. An HQS must collect the issued HQS WP within 30 calendar days from the day of entry into Russia or – in case of staying in Russia during the application processing – from the date of approval to issue the WP. If there are documented valid reasons for late collection, it will be possible to collect the WP after this deadline. Work permits not collected in time will be shredded.

◆ Intermark comment

"The decision to approve the issue of a work permit is made by the migration authority internally, but it will likely be possible to check the date of approval once the work permit is ready for collection.

We would also like to note that the draft law does not elaborate on what reasons may be deemed valid for the purpose of late WP collection." 

6. A decision to prohibit an employer from hiring HQS for 2 years may be made by authorities if such employer has not submitted information on the calculated and transferred taxes on the income of HQS employees to the tax authorities within six months following the reported period or has submitted fake information.

◆ Intermark comment

"This change does not introduce new reporting obligations nor does it affect the obligation to submit quarterly salary notifications to the migration authorities. The employer, being a tax agent for HQS employees, must submit relevant information (6-NDFL calculations) to the tax authorities in accordance with the existing tax legislation." 

7. HQS employees and their dependents will be eligible to obtain an indefinite permanent residence permit (not linked to work authorisation) under the condition of being employed as HQS in Russia for 2 years and residing in Russia on the basis of an HQS permanent residence permit issued for the validity period of the HQS work permit.

◆ Intermark comment

"As per the draft law, application for an indefinite residence permit will be available immediately after obtaining an HQS residence permit provided that the “2 years of work” condition is fulfilled." 

It is proposed that the law will come into force on 1 September 2022.

We will be monitoring the movement of this draft law in the parliament and will inform you of the adoption as well as any noteworthy amendments.

Who will be affected?

HQS employees and companies hiring foreign nationals as HQS in Russia.

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