Russian Legal Update - Third Quarter 2011

In the Second Quarter 2011 edition of the Russian Legal Update, we analyzed in detail the recent amendments to Russia's immigration laws (the "Immigration Amendments"). As a result of the Immigration Amendments, highly skilled foreign professionals in Russia are gaining a multitude of benefits, making working and living in Russia more foreigner-friendly. These Immigration Amendments have positively impacted Russian immigration rules for foreigners, notably restoring the right of employers to register foreign nationals and report their travels to, from and within Russia, and extending registration deadlines for foreign nationals.

The Russian government is now taking further steps to implement the Immigration Amendments. In particular, Resolution No. 654, dated August 4, 2011 (the "Resolution") and based on the Immigration Amendments, introduced some revisions to the Rules on Immigration Registration of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons in the RF. An important revision is that highly skilled foreign professionals and members of their families will not have to seek registration for 90 days from their arrival in Russia. If they are already registered, they will also be exempt from registering for 30 days from their arrival in a new place of residence. After the newly allotted period expires, the specialists and their families must be registered within seven days. The Resolution was published on August 8, 2011, and came into force on August 15, 2011.

Russia is keen to attract foreign talent and investment and is taking significant, real steps to communicate its goal. Recently, a lot of media attention has been focused on bilateral cooperation agreements, which promise to reduce the time and cost of obtaining visas and extending the term of visas up to three years (in the case of the United States) or up to five years in the case of the EU. The current proposal is to have these agreements signed by the RF and the United States and the RF and European countries before the end of 2011.

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