Rules for Migration Registration of Foreign Citizens: Everything Comes Full Circle

Rules for Migration Registration of Foreign Citizens: Everything Comes Full Circle

ItermarkRelocation team is happy to present you our newest comment on the issues of Russian Immigration, published by Russo-British Chamber of Commerce Bulletin ISSUE #3 APRIL-MAY 2011

This year Russian migration laws appertaining to foreign citizens underwent a number of changes, which drew a broad public response. Intermark Relocation experts give their own opinion of the changes to the law: before adoption of the new amendments to the Law in February 2011, during the period of its operation and before enactment of the bill on 11 March, 2011, as well as at present.

General Information about Migration Registration

The Federal Law of RF No. 109 describes the migration registration of foreign citizens within the Russian Federation as state regulation of migration processes. It is aimed at securing guarantying the observance of rights of foreigners legally residing in the territory of the Russian Federation, as well as at the implementation of national interests in the field of migration.

The Law also defines the concepts of place of residence and place of stay for foreign citizens in Russia. The former implies an accommodation, where a foreign citizen is registered, and the latter stands for an accommodation not serving as a place of residence, as well as any other place, where the foreign citizen resides at and (or) is subject to registration at place of stay.

Hence, the process of citizen’s registration at place of residence or at place of stay consists in authorized agencies’ recording of data about the place of residence or about location of the foreign citizen at the place of stay.

As It Was Before

Before the introduction of a new version of the law on 15 February, 2011 recipients, which could be represented by both individuals and legal entities, had a right to register foreign citizens in the territory of Russian Federation not only at place of stay, but also at place of work, which was the more preferable option for both foreigners and their employers.

The procedure for de-registration had to be performed within two days after the day of the foreigner’s departure from Russia. This was achieved by sending a detachable part of the notification form to the migration registration authorities.

However, it is important to note that the former version of the law required the migration registration of absolutely all the foreign citizens residing within the territory of the Russian Federation, without any exceptions. That is a considerable difference between the former version and the new one. Now, after adoption of the changes, highly-qualified specialists are granted a number of benefits. For example, the specialists themselves and members of their families need not register during the first 90 days from the moment of admission into the territory of the Russian Federation and for 30 days, if they leave places of their stay to visit other cities.

Stumbling Block

However on 15 February, 2011 the situation changed: when alterations that were introduced to stiffen the migration registration rules for foreign citizens took legal effect. Since that time, foreigners could no longer be registered at their place of work, but only at their accommodation address. In addition further difficulties were introduced by the fact that territorial divisions of Department of the Federal Migration Service were not uniform in their requirements as to the list of documents to be provided, which resulted in an apparent misunderstanding on the part of both foreign citizens and their employers.

The most contentious issue in the mentioned requirements related to the presence of a notarial letter of attorney from an owner of accommodation addressed to employer’s representatives for registration of the foreign citizen.

Representatives of the Department of the Federal Migration Service attest that, according to the law, letters of attorney are not required on presentation of a rent contract between the employer and the accommodation owner. However, in practice significant number of territorial divisions of the migration service refused to register the foreigner’s arrival only on the basis of a rent contract and required the provision of a letter of attorney from the owner. Whereas other divisions registered foreigners at the address of residence requiring only a copy of the rent contract.

In addition many owners were unable to provide letters of attorney owing to the fact that their permanent residence was not within the Russian Federation, where it could be quite difficult to draw such a document. Moreover, the leased accommodations are quite often owned by foreign citizens. And according to the law of Russian Federation, foreigners cannot register other foreigners, if they are not a member of their family.

This case caused great anxiety and provoked a vehement public response, including that on the part of international associations and public organizations. Actually, this resulted in the situation, when a foreign citizen without a letter of attorney had to look for alternative solutions of the problem such as registration at the address of hotels and other accommodations not being his/her actual place of residence.

Return to The Origins

The public response did not go unnoticed. On 11 March 2011 the State Duma of Russian Federation passed a bill introducing changes in some of the articles in the Federal law. In substance, this bill recovers the former rules and order of migration registration, which were in effect before changes established in February 2011. According to the bill, the law itself will come into force on 25 March, 2011.

The new bill states that a foreign citizen may be registered at their place of work. Moreover, the period of registration was increased from three to seven working days. For foreigners arriving to Russia for a period of no more than seven days, it enables the possibility of a registration free visit, unless their stay includes a part-time residence in a hotel.

As for the conditions for highly-qualified specialists, they have become even more preferential. In addition to the former rule exempting highly-qualified specialists and members of their families from an obligation to register during the 90 days from their admission and during the 30 days from their arrival from the city of basic stay to another region of Russia, there is one more innovation. Now a period of registration upon the expiry of the above-mentioned periods of stay in the territory of Russia increases from three to seven working days. Moreover, a highly-qualified specialist owning some accommodation in Russia shall be acknowledged as a recipient for members of his/her family. During a validity period of the highly-qualified specialist’s work permit members of his/her family may also work freely, if they have a work permit, as well as study in Russian educational establishments.

Expert Opinion

Experts of Intermark Relocation surmise that the state introduced the changes of 15 February, 2011, because it enabled them to gain control over payment of taxes imposed on the rent collected by homeowners, since the migration registration authorities required not only a letter of attorney, but also a copy of a rent contract.

Nevertheless, the public response caused by contradictions in the law surpassed the expectations of government services. In practice, the changes meant that many foreigners did not have any possibility to register in accordance with the requirements of the law and resided in the territory of Russian Federation without registration, hence violating the law unwillingly.

As a result of this unrest, less than a month later the State Duma passed the bill recovering the former order of migration registration at the place of work and introducing new changes concerning the increase of the period for registration of foreign citizens.

Conditions for de-registration remained the same as after introduction of changes in February, i.e. individual de-registration of foreigners is not needed, as before. Border control authorities shall inform migration registration authorities about the foreigner’s departure from the Russian Federation.

Intermark Relocation will keep watching over the events in the field of migration legislation and taking an active part in promotion of norms aimed at improvement of migration requirements.

For more information regarding the migration legislation of RF, please, contact the Intermark Relocation Team members:

Irina Yakimenko

Executive Director Immigration & Relocation Services

Maria Obodovskaya

Senior Immigration Adviser

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