Business Travel & Work Permits
Fully legitimate visa support is issued from the company you are visiting, which could also be your own Russian company. A company with the right to issue visa support has registered with OVIR/UVIR and takes on the responsibility not only of obtaining the visa support for you, but also of making sure that you are registered properly upon arrival.
Types of visas
Depending on the purpose of the visit to Russia, there are several types of visas (diplomatic, service, ordinary, transit, and temporary residence) which may allow single, double, or multiple entry. The type of visa of concern to business is the "ordinary" visa, which may be further segmented: private, business, tourist, study, work, humanitarian, and refugee.
Business visas are issued for the purpose of visiting the Russian Federation on business trips.
Work visas are issued for the purpose of employment in the Russian Federation and are issued for a period based on the contract, but not for more than one year. Work visas must be additionally accompanied by work permits for the employee to legally work in Russia.
Note that all foreigners must additionally registered once they arrive in Russia with a proper visa. Business visas and work visas can generally be registered at the business that issued the invitation or at a hotel or private apartment (but only by the legally registered owner).
Work Permits & Hiring Foreign Employees
This information pertains immediately to subsidiaries and other Russian-registered companies and we believe it will soon affect representative offices. At this point it is important to point out that these procedures are lengthy and complicated not because Russia wants to keep out highly qualified labor that will contribute overall to the economy. The majority of applications are for laborers, considered to be in direct competition for work with equally qualified and underemployed Russians.
Presently, all companies, including those with foreign shareholders, must pass through the procedures described below. When these requirements are ultimately enforced for representative offices, we anticipate that they will be somewhat easier, perhaps just mere formalities. There are three steps to hiring foreign employees:
Step 1: Registration with OVIR/UVIR
A foreign employee should ultimately enter Russia on a visa supported by the employer. Easier said than done, which is why there is still a thriving business of selling visa support. In order to obtain the right to issue visa support, you company must be registered with OVIR/UVIR. Up until November 2002, this registration was done at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) and subsequently at OVIR/UVIR. You may well have already registered your company at MID and OVIR/UVIR and issued visas in the past, but you do indeed need to reregister with OVIR/UVIR.
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Step 2: Company permit to hire foreign employees
This step results in a general company permit from the Migration Service, qualifying your company to hire foreign employees. The permit is received on the basis of specifically named employees, i.e. if you will hire an employee that is not listed on the application already submitted, you will need to apply for another permit for that employee. At this stage, information about your company such as a general description of activities and the foreign employees you plan to hire (how many, for what positions, and their citizenship) is submitted. The committee that reviews such applications does not meet very frequently (every other month or so) and denies approximately 1/3 of applications.
Step 3: Individual work permits
On the basis of the company permit, an application is then submitted for a specific employee.
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