Due to COVID-19, the Russian borders will remain closed until May. This can have consequences for foreigners with a Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) status, both inside and outside Russia.
In general, HQS visa holders staying in Russia now have the possibility to extend their visa and registration for up to 90 days, but the situation is a bit more complicated for HQS visa holders stuck abroad. These individuals will not be able to return to Russia until 1 May 2020. And this date can still be extended by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In order to maintain the HQS status of their foreign employees, the employers will need to continue paying the agreed salary (min. RUB 167,000 gross per month). Even so, if an employee stays abroad for six months or longer, the Russian government can annul his work permit.
The Ministry of Labour of the Russian Federation has the view that remote work from abroad cannot be permitted because employers cannot guarantee safe working conditions and because such remote work is not explicitly permitted under the Russian labour legislation.
To enable foreign employees of a Russian entity to work from abroad legally nonetheless, the employer must ensure that all adequate internal documents are in place.
Many different factors must be taken into account for each specific case, and each of them will require different documents:
- Are they able to work from another country? Then, an agreement on transfer to remote work should be signed.
- Can they be transferred to another position? Then, an order on temporary transfer to another position should be issued.
- What are the reasons for the foreign employee to be abroad? (business trip, vacation, force majeure, etc.) Then, an order on the extension of such reason must be provided.
If you have any HQS employees staying outside Russia now, waiting to get back, do not hesitate to contact us for assistance with the documentation and solid advice!