What is the change? Russia will be dropping the minimum salary threshold for IT companies hiring workers in the quota-exempt Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) work permit category.

What does the change mean? IT companies must be registered with the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media and then may sponsor foreign nationals on HQS permits for minimum annual salaries of one million rubles (about US $29,000), half of the standard salary threshold of two million rubles.

  • Implementation timeframe:The change came into force June 24, but work permit applications for HQSs will not be accepted until the Federal Migration Service finalizes the new process.
  • Visas/permits affected:HQS work permits.
  • Who is affected:Registered and accredited IT companies and prospective HQS work permit holders in the IT field.
  • Impact on processing times:There may be delays and a backlog as a result of the transition.
  • Business impact:This is a positive change for IT companies that may hire personnel at a lower cost.
  • Next steps:Companies in the information technology sector should register with the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media if they have not already done so.

Background: Russia created the HQS permit in 2010 as a way for Russian companies to hire skilled foreign workers without quota restrictions for up to three years. Registered companies in the IT field have recently been targeted to benefit from the lowered minimum salary threshold.

BAL Analysis: When implemented, registered companies can take advantage of this significant reduction in the minimum salary for foreign IT workers qualifying for HQS permits.

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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