Russian immigration changes see introduction of new investor visa

by Ray Clancy on February 7, 2013

Russian immigration changes see introduction of new investor visa

Changes to Russian immigration laws have been announced aimed at making it easier for wealthy investors to obtain visas but also increasing penalties for visa abuse. The Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) said it is to introduce a new Investment Visitor Visa that will be valid up to five years for partners, representatives and business visitors of foreign companies that operate in Russia and invest funds in the Russian economy.

It is anticipated that the Russian government will maintain a list of overseas companies whose business representatives are permitted to apply for this visa but the specific requirements for admission have yet to be determined.

Applicants will be able to apply for the new visa directly with a Russian consular post without applying for an official invitation letter from the FMS, the federal executive body responsible for drafting and implementing national migration policy. It is also authorised to enforce laws, perform state oversight and provide government services with regard to migration.

Quote from : “Hi there! I received the letter of invitation from my friend living in Russia and now i will be applying for a working visa. Im currently employed but my contract was about to expire in 4 mons time.”

To make visa applications simpler Russian employers can now submit scanned versions of an employee’s application support documents as part of an electronic application to the FMS when requesting most immigration benefits. There are also changes to the TRPs, the temporary residency, three year non immigrant status which is a preliminary stage to Russian Permanent Residence five year status. TRP’s are filed by foreign nationals seeking long term residence status based on family sponsorship and other non employment related categories.

Previously TRP holders were required to request Russian employers to file an Employment Permit and obtain a Work Permit on their behalf. TRP’s now wishing to seek employment no longer require Employment or Work Permits as is the situation for Permanent Residents.

‘Companies considering assignments to Russia should prepare for continuing changes as the labour and migration services implement policies under the new immigration law and in an effort to better align the country’s skilled migration and overseas labour needs,’ a FMS spokesman said.

At the same time there will be a crackdown on visa and immigration fraud. Anyone who intentionally overstays a visitor visa by 30 days faces a ban on entry for up to three years. Any individual or Russian organisation found to be involved in arranging or facilitating the illegal entry or employment of a foreign national will face a fine of up to 300,000 rubbles, approximately US$9,900.

‘Russian companies and Russian HR should take note of the substantial increase in civil fines. Employees and family members in visitor status are strongly advised to take all steps necessary to monitor their allowable stay in Russia in order to avoid inadvertent overstays,’ the FMS spokesman explained.

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