Changes in the rules for registration of foreign nationals
Brief description of changes and recommendations
Essentially, the following changes have been introduced:
- Previously, companies could register their foreign employees at their own registered address. From July 08, 2018 onwards foreign employees will need to be registered at their address of residence.
- Since many landlords will be unwilling to register their foreign tenants, we recommend issuing a power of attorney for the person who will register foreign employees on behalf of their landlord.
Below we outline in more detail the reasons and consequences of these changes.
Why has the law been amended?
In 2016, two US national were fined and deported from Russia because they were registered at the address of the organization that invited them and actually lived somewhere else in the same city. They appealed to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation because they considered that the current registration rules are contrary to the Russian Constitution.
The court ruled that some provisions in the law on migration registration of foreign nationals are vague and contradict certain articles of the Constitution. The law allows host organizations to register foreign nationals at their address (non-residential premises), but foreign nationals often live in another place where they are therefore not actually registered. The law on migration registration was amended to address this issue, and these amendments will enter into force on July 08, 2018.
What amendments have been introduced to the law?
Under the new law, organizations are not allowed to register foreign nationals at the address where they work but not actually live. Host organizations can register foreign nationals at their address only if they can provide accommodation in their premises. How the Ministry of Internal Affairs will check the actual residence of foreign nationals in an organization is to be confirmed. It is highly likely that sleeping accommodations will be required in the organization’s premises.
Foreign nationals residing in rented accommodation will have to handle migration registration on their own because organizations will no longer be responsible for such registration. It will be up to them and their landlord to handle all registration formalities. Hotels are an exception to this rule and will themselves register their guests that will simply receive a registration notice form.
What liability is provided for violation of the new rules?
If an organization registers foreign nationals at its address although they do not actually live at this address, the organization will be subject to liability for false registration. Previously, the concept of false registration applied only to residential premises whereas now it also applies to non-residential premises.
Foreign nationals violating this rule will be subject to an administrative fine from RUB 2,000 to RUB 5,000 with or without deportation. This fine is higher (RUB 5,000-RUB 7,000) in Moscow and the Moscow region as well as in St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg region.
The provision of false information about foreign nationals or forged documents will be subject to an administrative fine:
- From RUB 2 000 to RUB 5 000 for foreign nationals;
- From RUB 35 000 to RUB 50 000 for company officers;
- From RUB 300 000 to RUB 800 000 for legal entities.
If the Ministry of Internal Affairs finds signs of criminal act, then the offenders will be subject to criminal liability as follows:
- A fine from RUB 100 000 to RUB 500 000;
- A fine in the amount of the offender’s salary or other income for up to 3 years;
- Community service for up to 3 years with or without disqualification to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to 3 years
- Imprisonment for up to 3 years with or without disqualification to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to 3 years
Recommendations for foreign nationals
Foreign nationals renting apartments should address this issue with their landlord.
Although the risks for foreign nationals staying in hotels are minimal, it is better to find out in advance whether the hotel registers foreign nationals as some hotels do not register their guests.
Note! For highly-qualified specialists special regime of stay applied. Such specialists could stay in the territory of Russia without being registered at the place of their actual living within the period of 90 days.
Recommendations for host organizations
We recommend requesting from foreign nationals the documents confirming registration at their place of stay to make sure that they have complied with the procedure for migration registration and that they are not at risk of fine or deportation.