Foreign businesses will no longer need to register a separate company in Russia. The Ministry of Economic Development is planning to allow the branches of foreign companies in Russia to obtain a license without the need to establish a separate Russian entity. The draft law would apply to a wide range of business spheres and should facilitate the access of foreign investors to the Russian market.
At the present moment the grant of license is only possible to the companies established in Russia and registered with the Unified State Register of Legal Entities (USRLE). Branches of foreign legal entities are registered in a separate “Register of accredited branches and representative offices of foreign companies” (Accreditation register), which is kept by the Russian Federal Tax Authority. Currently more than 2000 branches are registered with it. Because of this difference, in case a foreign company is planning to carry out business in Russia, which falls under licensing regulation, it is forced to establish a Russian subsidiary. Thanks to the law amendments Russian and foreign businesses will gain equal opportunities without additional administrative burden.
The draft will enable the branches of foreign companies to obtain licenses based on their registration number and the date of registration in the Accreditation register. 52 types of activities would fall under the new regulation, among which are education, medicine, passenger traffic and pharmaceuticals.
The measure is advertised as stimulating foreign enterprises to expand, invest money into Russian economy and create new jobs. However, not all foreign entities would enjoy the facilitation of market entry. For example no changes are due for the financial sphere: The Central Bank of Russia will not issue a license to carry out banking activities to foreign companies.
If you wish to know more about doing business in Russia, proper choice of the legal form for your activities, advantages and disadvantages of having a Russian subsidiary vs. a foreign branch, envisaged costs, legal and reporting obligations in this regard we would be glad to provide you with detailed advice.