Employers’ liability for foreign employees is about to be increased

By Elena Rybnikova, Head of Internal Audit, Expertise and Methodology Department

Employers are required to monitor that their foreign employees are hired and stay in Russia in compliance with migration law. If the purposes and terms of stay of nationals invited from other countries are invalid, companies could be brought to liability of half a million. Changes reflecting this harsher liability are due to be introduced to the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses by amending Federal Law N 195-FZ dated December 30, 2001. Draft amendments will be subject to public debate as well as an independent anti-corruption review until June 18, 2018.

Elena Rybnikova
Head of Internal Audit, Expertise and Methodology Department

The rules for entry of foreign nationals into the Russian Federation and how they should be hired will be changed, while mandatory exam and insurance will be introduced for foreign nationals. Bills amending Articles 2, 20, 21, and 23 of Federal Law On Migration Registration of Foreign Nationals and Stateless Persons in the Russian Federation have been put forward to the State Duma.

The rules for foreign nationals coming to the Russian Federation to work stand apart in migration laws.

Who will be affected by these changes?

Earlier foreign nationals themselves had to monitor compliance with migration laws, but foreign nationals coming to Russia do not always follow Russian laws, and in 2017 local departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs stopped more than 136,000 migration offenses. “Current laws do not require the inviting party to monitor that foreign nationals comply with their purpose of entry into Russia when they stay in Russia” noted Medvedev in his opening remarks at a government meeting held on February 08, 2018.

Federal Law N 499-FZ dated December 31, 2017 was thus adopted to ensure that not only foreign nationals but also the party inviting them would be responsible for monitoring compliance with migration laws. Article 18.9 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses used to provide for a fine for individuals, but now this article has been amended to provide for liability of legal entities and their officers when foreign nationals do not comply with migration laws (it is important that these actions show no signs of criminal offense).

What will happen in case of violation of the new conditions?

If an inviting party fails to fulfill the obligations set out by Russian migration law, the following administrative fine will be imposed:

  • A fine from RUB 2,000 to RUB 4,000 will be imposed on individuals;
  • A fine from RUB 40,000 to RUB 50,000 will be imposed on officers;
  • A fine from RUB 400,000 to RUB 500,000 will be imposed on legal entities.

How can employers avoid fines if the law is passed?

As previously, Russian employers inviting foreign nationals to work must provide them with work, as well as working and living conditions. The new requirements will introduce a number of other obligations so employers will be required to:

  • Ensure that their foreign employees have left their country of registration in due time;
  • Extend their visa if necessary;
  • Issue other documents permitting foreign nationals to legally reside in the Russian Federation.

Why are such measures required?

The migration of citizens is a natural process in every country, and it is the host country’s responsibility to regulate such process as uncontrolled migration entails risks for the country as a whole and for its citizens in particular. Russian migration laws are evolving to ensure the security of Russian citizens and also because of the international fight against terrorism. It is also worth mentioning that with the upcoming World Cup a large influx of foreign nationals is expected in Russia.