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Updates on temporary migration measures during pandemic in Russia
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Updates on temporary migration measures during pandemic in Russia

Following the closure of borders and quarantine measures under Presidential Decree No. 274 dated April 18, 2020 introducing temporary measures to regulate the legal status of foreign nationals and stateless persons in the Russian Federation due to the threat of the further spread of coronavirus (COVID19), the Ministry of Internal Affairs has taken measures to regulate the legal status of foreign nationals residing in Russia.

Russia border crossing

Foreign nationals (with a few exceptions) cannot enter the Russian Federation for an indefinite period (Russian Government Decree), and foreigners for whom an exception is made also experience significant difficulties due to the cancelation of most transport links between countries.
Updates from June 09, 2020: Russian Government eases restrictions on entry and exit from the country 

Updates from June 26, 2020: Highly qualified specialists are allowed single entry into Russia based on a list that federal authorities should send to the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The date of arrival and the checkpoint through which highly qualified specialists plan to enter the country must be specified. In addition to their passport and visa (if a visa is required for entry), highly qualified specialists must also have with them a valid employment contract or services agreement. August 27, 2020Entry procedure for Highly Qualified Specialists during the period of restrictions related to COVID-19

Updates from July 27, 2020: A decree has been issued to remove entry restrictions through air checkpoints as well as restrictions on the issuance of visas to citizens from Great Britain, Tanzania, Turkey, Switzerland (September 02, 2020 Egypt, Maldives and UAE (government decree), September 20, 2020 Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea (government decree)) and citizens of other countries entitled to permanent residence in these four countries entering the Russian Federation from these four countries. Entry restrictions have been removed for Abkhazia (August 01, 2020) and South Ossetia (September 12, 2020).

September 23, 2020: Foreign nationals have been allowed since September 16, 2020 to exit the Russian Federation to go to their own country (without transit through other countries) with identity documents (provided they are recognized as such in the Russian Federation) that have expired after March 14, 2020. This means that if the passport of a foreign national (or other identity document) has expired after March 14, 2020 and has not be renewed in the Russian Federation, the foreign national holding such passport must urgently leave the Russian Federation or apply for a new passport through the relevant consulate.

Extension of document validity – Foreign nationals in the Russian Federation

For whom?

Foreign nationals who are already in the Russian Federation and cannot leave the country due to border closure.

Which documents?

Immigration cards, visas, temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits and other documents that have expired or will expire between March 15 and June September December 15, 2020, except for work permits, patents, and authorizations to hire foreign nationals (June 16, 2020; September 23, 2020).

Updates from June 16, 2020: The work permit, PHP and patent of foreign nationals and stateless persons expiring after June 15, 2020 will not be extended, so these documents will need to be issued (renewed) by applying to migration authorities as usual although it will not be necessary to meet the following requirements:

  1. People that have arrived in Russia on a visa-free basis will be able to apply for (extend) their patent regardless of the deadline for submitting documents for their processing and regardless of the requirements for purpose of entry and exit from the Russian Federation;
  2. Employers with a valid authorization to hire foreign nationals will be able to apply for (extend) the work permit of their employees that have arrived in Russia on a visa basis regardless of the requirements for purpose of entry for any period until September December 15, 2020 inclusive (September 23, 2020).

So, work permits, patents, and authorizations to hire foreign nationals expiring after June 15, 2020 are not extended and need to be re-issued/extended. From June 16, employers do not have the right to hire foreign nationals without valid documents as mentioned above. The validity terms of the other documents listed in Decree No. 274 are extended until September December 15, 2020 (September 23, 2020).

Updates from September 03, 2020: According to new clarifications provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in case of expiration of the validity period of temporary stay, visa, registration at the place of stay and residence, passport, and temporary residence permit, these documents are automatically extended for 185 days, and there is no need to apply to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to extend the validity period of these documents. It will also be possible to apply for permanent residence permits within 185 days of the expiry date of temporary residence permits.

How to extend/renew documents?

If any of these documents expire between March 15 and June 15, 2020, they are automatically extended free of charge for 93 days from their expiration date. Local authorities continue working and are open as usual. They accept documents and provide advice subject to quarantine measures and restrictions imposed in your region.

Updates from June 16, 2020: The validity of these documents will also be extended automatically between June 16 and September December 15 (September 23, 2020), but it has not yet been specified for how long (except for the documents listed in Decree No. 392, namely patents, work permits and authorizations to hire foreign nationals). The procedure for obtaining patents has been simplified for foreign nationals in Russia on a visa-free basis. Patents will now be issued regardless of visit purpose requirements and regardless of the deadlines for submitting documents and leaving the Russian Federation. In addition, from June 16, 2020 onwards, the appropriate amount of advance payments for personal income tax should be paid for patents.

Updates from 13.07.2020New forms for temporary residence permit and permanent residence permit

Document cancelation for foreign nationals who have left the Russian Federation

The law provides that many documents (e.g. temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits, work permits, etc.) are canceled if foreign nationals leave the Russian Federation for more than six months. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this rule is suspended until June September December 15, 2020 (June 16, 2020; September 23, 2020) for work permits, temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits, certificates of state program participants, visas, and patents. 

Deferred procedures. If they were decided before March 15, 2020, expulsion, deportation, readmission, withdrawal of refugee status or temporary asylum, cancelation of documents (visas, temporary residence permits, permanent residence permits, etc.)  will not go ahead or will be temporarily suspended.

September 23, 2020: The deadlines for voluntary departure from the Russian Federation for foreign nationals and stateless persons subject to administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation, foreign nationals and stateless persons who have not been authorized to enter the Russian Federation, or who are deemed not desirable to stay (live) in the Russian Federation have been suspended since September 16, 2020 (Item 1(c) Decree). This means that from September 16 onwards foreign nationals and stateless persons may be deported from the Russian Federation in other ways (for example, court decision) except for voluntary departure from the Russian Federation.

Since September16, no decisions have been adopted for forced administrative expulsion from the Russian Federation, for deportation or transfer to another country under the international treaty of the Russian Federation on readmission, as well as decisions reducing the period of temporary stay in the Russian Federation, denying refugee status, temporary asylum, canceling previously issued visas, work permits, patents, temporary residence permits, residence permits, certificates of state program participants issued for foreign nationals and stateless persons (except for foreign nationals and stateless persons released from imprisonment or in breach of Russian state border laws, or posing a threat to the national security of the Russian Federation, including those advocating a violent change in the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, or helping with the commission of terrorist (extremist) acts or committing them, as well as other actions supporting terrorist (extremist) activities) (Item 2(b) Decree).

So, since September 16:

· Decisions on undesirability of stay (residence) may be adopted, and foreign nationals that are deemed undesirable may even be expelled from the Russian Federation by court decision;

· Some exceptions have been made for special categories of citizens for whom any relevant decisions may be adopted.

Easing of some requirements for employers hiring foreign nationals

Employers are entitled to hire foreign nationals without work permits and patents from March 15 to June 15, 2020 inclusive provided they have a valid authorization to hire foreign nationals. From June 16, 2020 onwards, employers must apply for (renew) these documents as usual if they expire after June 15, 2020. They also must comply with the restrictions and other measures put in place for public sanitation and disease control purposes.

Updates from June 16, 2020: Work permits will be issued (or renewed) until September December 15 (September 23, 2020) inclusive to foreign nationals that are in the Russian Federation on a visa basis regardless of visit purpose requirements. In such case, employers must have an authorization to hire foreign nationals and comply with all restrictions as well as take the necessary measures for safe resumption of work. For more detailed information on the requirements for organization of work, read our article on resuming work after the end of non-working day period.

What has remained unchanged and has yet to be clarified?

  • The clarifications provided by the authorities do not preclude the imposition of fines, especially on employers.
  • The Ministry of Internal Affairs has granted no breaks and postponements for notifications.
  • No explanations have been given on how to issue documents to foreign nationals outside the Russian Federation if their documents expire during the period from March 15, 2020 to September December 15, 2020.

Updates from June 26, 2020: In accordance with a new decree, work permits and visa invitations may be issued subject to certain conditions even if highly qualified specialists are outside the Russian Federation.

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