IMPACT – HIGH
What is the change? Russia has made significant changes to its rules for registering foreign nationals.
What does the change mean? Beginning July 8, foreign nationals must be registered at the address of their actual dwelling, rather than a company address. The responsibility for completing registration will fall on the party that is providing accommodation to the foreign national. This could be the employer or the landlord, depending on the type of lease agreement. The changes will have no effect on foreign nationals who are staying at hotels, but will affect those staying at accommodations such as an apartment or house.
Background: The new rules will take effect under a federal law that redefines the meaning of “place of stay” and “host party” for foreign registration purposes. The responsibility for registering will fall on the host party, rather than on the foreign national. This does not change the foreign national’s responsibility to provide the host party with documents required for registration, including passports, migration cards and previous registration documents (if applicable).
Importantly, host parties must register foreign nationals at their actual place of dwelling, rather than at a company address (unless the foreign national is actually dwelling on company premises). Whether the landlord or the company is considered the “host party” depends on the type of lease agreement.
The changes may pose particular difficulty for foreign nationals renting directly from a landlord, especially because landlords who are not on site or are outside of Russia are sometimes willing to risk being fined rather than completing registration processes. In such cases it may be preferable for employers to rent an accommodation for foreign nationals so that the employer, rather than the landlord, is able to complete registration processes.
None of the law’s provisions affect cases where foreign nationals stay at hotels because hotels are, and will remain, responsible for completing registration.
Companies that fail to adhere to registration rules face serious consequences, including fines of 400,000 to 500,000 rubles (about US$6,300 to $7,880) for corporate entities and 40,000 to 50,000 rubles for company officials. Foreign nationals could also face penalties, even though they are not themselves responsible for completing registration procedures. Penalties for foreign nationals may include fines of 2,000 to 7,000 rubles and possible expulsion from Russia.
BAL Analysis: Host companies and foreign nationals alike should be sure that they adhere to the new registration rules and are reminded that after July 8 the registration address must be the address of actual dwelling, and not the company address. In cases where a landlord is off site, outside of Russia or otherwise unable or unwilling to complete registration procedures, it may be advantageous for employers to rent accommodations for foreign national employees. This will allow employers, rather than landlords, to complete registration as the host party.
The law does not explicitly require foreign nationals already in Russia to reregister after July 8. However, those who are registered at their company’s address rather than their address of actual dwelling may wish to have their host party register them at their dwelling address after the new law takes effect.
Employers and foreign nationals are reminded that in cities hosting World Cup soccer matches, foreign nationals must be registered within three calendar days. In other locations, registration must be completed within seven business days. Highly qualified specialists and their families have up to 90 calendar days for initial registration upon arriving in Russia and 30 calendar days to register if they move to a new location in Russia.
This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Russia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.
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