Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Awais Aftab
At a Glance:
- Over the last several decades, Russia’s economy has substantially diversified, and there are now various attractive industries for foreigners wishing to work in the nation.
- If you spend more than 183 days in Russia every year, you will be taxed as a resident at 13%.
- Obtaining a work visa is complicated and should be started well before you arrive in Russia; however, the procedure will be significantly more straightforward if you are eligible to be a Highly Qualified Specialist.
The attractiveness of working in Russia has surged in popularity since the significant transition period in the 1990s. Due to the transition to a market-based open economy, the people have benefited and suffered. Overall, citizens and ex-pats working in Russia have contributed to the country’s tremendous economic growth over the last decade.
Russia’s Main Economic Pillars
The majority of individuals employed in the world’s largest country, as in many industrialized nations today, work in the service sector, which employs over 60% of the total workforce. On the other hand, industrial production is still running strong, with roughly 28% of people employed in industrial manufacturing and processing businesses. Because Russia is the world’s third-largest steel supplier, metallurgy is a crucial focus industry for the country. In recent years, the government has made Russia’s IT sector more appealing to international investors.
Given the size of the Russian Federation, it’s no wonder that a large number of individuals work in the country’s resources industry. Natural resource production, refining, and trade are some of the government’s and residents’ primary sources of revenue.
However, as the harsh impacts of the global financial crisis of 2008/09 demonstrated, the export of commodities such as gas and steel leaves Russia’s economy relatively subject to global ups and downs. Despite this, Russia was able to bounce back fast from the hits. Thanks to several remedies taken by the government and the Russian Central Bank, it returned to a thriving economy within a year.
Russia’s Job Market for Expats
Working in Russia has long been an attractive option for expats seeking more expertise in the construction and energy industries. The latter is very profitable for the country as a whole. Russia is the world’s second-biggest producer and exporter of natural gas, and the world’s most significant oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia. While government-backed firms control the majority of these two cash cows, foreigners interested in working in Russia’s energy industry may be offered some special incentives. Furthermore, building and refurbishment are in high demand in Russia, particularly in cosmopolitan cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Work Permits for Russia
Employer responsibilities in obtaining a work permit
Both expats and their employers will find Russia’s immigration and international labor procedures cumbersome and time-consuming. It’s always a good idea to plan!
The initial stages are solely your employer’s responsibility, and they require its Human Resources department to plan ahead of time. Companies operating in Russia must apply for corporate work licenses for their potential foreign workers almost a year before recruiting an expat. They must specify the post they plan to fill and the expat’s nationality in their application. This information is legally binding: a business that has the authorisation to engage an Italian engineer cannot instead hire one from Taiwan.
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Obtaining a work visa and clearing the last bit of red tape
You can apply for a work visa at your local Russian consulate or embassy after getting a letter of invitation from your employer. They’ll also provide you with a list of all the paperwork you’ll need. Remember not to apply for a business visa by mistake since this is an entirely distinct category in Russian immigration rules!
You must register your address with the migration services within three days of your arrival. Fortunately, your employer is generally in charge of contacting the appropriate authorities. Your employer must also report your employment to the labor and tax authorities.
Are you well qualified? Exemptions from work visas
There are work permit exemptions for employees in various sectors, so not every business and employee must go through the complete process. The work visa category for Highly Qualified Specialists is the most significant exception for expatriates interested in remaining in Russia for a more extended time than, say, for the installation and maintenance of machinery (HQSs). Foreign professionals must be rewarded with at least 2 million rubles per year to be eligible for this permission. The permission is valid for a maximum of three years.
Before filing for a work patent, Highly Qualified Specialists must have worked for three years. HQSs are paid 167,000 RUB per month on a calendar basis. HQSs working in the IT branch must earn a minimum of 83,500 RUB per month.
Changes for Citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States
The quota system, which limited the number of work permits awarded each year, was abolished on January 1, 2015. It has been replaced by a new mechanism that allows for a quicker issuance of so-called work patents.
Within 30 days of arriving in Russia, CIS nationals should apply for a work patent. A punishment of up to 15,000 RUB will be imposed if they do not comply. The applicant has 60 days from the date of the work patent to obtain local employment. The work patent allows an individual to labor without quotas for up to 12 months and can be renewed once. Within 30 days of filing for a work patent, a CIS national must demonstrate mastery of the Russian language, history, and legislation of the Russian Federation. This can be accomplished by passing a test on these themes; only then can the work patent be used.
Can remote Russian employees be paid in foreign currencies?
The Russian Ruble (RUB) is the currency employees are paid according to local law. Payment in another foreign currency, whether in cash or through a bank transfer, may be considered a violation of the law by the state.
It can be tricky for foreign nationals to hire remote Russian employees, which is why PEO platforms like Multiplier can significantly help. With Multiplier, you can set up a contract, set up regular payment cycles in the local currency, and ensure compliance with labor laws and taxes.
Calculating taxes and contributing to benefits like healthcare and social security will be easier if you pay your remote employees in their local currency.
Taxation in Russia
You will be taxed at a rate of 30% on your income from Russian sources as an expat, or rather non-resident, in Russia. You will, however, be deemed a resident under Russian taxes law if you spend at least 183 days in the country in 12 months. Then, at 13%, all income, including that derived from non-Russian sources, will be taxed. Highly skilled professionals are an unusual group: with this permit, you are immediately entitled to the regular resident tax rate.
Interesting facts about Living in Russia
- Russians are renowned for their love of tea, with many drinking multiple cups daily. It’s not uncommon to be offered tea as soon as you arrive at someone’s home.
- Russian winters are famously cold, with temperatures often dropping well below freezing. However, many cities have adapted by building underground malls and heated sidewalks to make getting around more comfortable.
- The Cyrillic alphabet is used in Russia, making it challenging for foreigners to read and write. However, many younger Russians are also learning English and are often eager to practice with native speakers.
- Moscow’s metro system is one of the busiest and most efficient in the world, with trains running every 90 seconds during peak hours. It’s also home to some of the most beautiful metro stations in the world, with ornate decorations and impressive artwork.
- Russia is home to many traditional foods, such as borscht (a beetroot soup), pelmeni (dumplings), and blini (pancakes). Russian cuisine is often hearty and comforting, perfect for warming up in the cold weather.
- The country is home to many stunning natural wonders, including Lake Baikal (the deepest lake in the world) and the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). There are also many opportunities for skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
- Russians celebrate many holidays throughout the year, including New Year’s Day (which is the biggest holiday of the year), Victory Day (commemorating the end of World War II), and Maslenitsa (a pre-Lent festival that involves eating lots of pancakes).
- The country is also famous for its literature, with many acclaimed writers from Russia. Some well-known authors include Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Anton Chekhov.
- In Moscow and St. Petersburg, you can find many world-class museums and galleries, such as the Hermitage Museum, which boasts one of the largest art collections in the world.