Work permit in Russia

Foreign citizens who have come to Russia require a work permit and a work visa to be able to work in the RF. Currently, there are two different routes for obtaining a work permit. The most popular is to obtain a permit as a Highly-Qualified Specialist* (HQS), earning a salary of over 167,000 roubles per month. The other route is to apply as a qualified professional, with a salary of less than 167,000 roubles per month.

 * This is a defined work category, which has minimum salary thresholds, 
 and offers numerous administrative priveleges. 

Work permits for Highly-Qualified Specialists (HQS)

The status of Highly-Qualified Specialist (HQS) carries a number of privileges as a professional, which are established in the legislation of the Russian Federation. HQS work permits can only be issued on behalf of the company (or organisation) for which this staffer will actually work – in other words, you should already have a job offer, or to have opened your own company's representative office in Russia, before applying.

The concept of Highly-Qualified Specialists applies to foreign employees – who can be either citizens of visa-obligatory, or visa-exempt nations – earning a salary of over 2,000,000 roubles annually (or 167,000 roubles per month) as a foreign employee. A work visa can be issued for such HQS employees to carry out their work duties, initially for a period of up to three years. Such permits can cover several Russian regions.

Applying for a work permit for Highly-Qualified Specialists

Benefits of HQS status:

  • applications for work permits for foreign citizens are received regardless of quotas, nor are they regulated by the list of vacancies in the relevant legislation
  • no need to apply for a permit to recruit foreign staff at the company
  • work permits for foreign staff can be issued covering several Russian Regions, Work permits are valid for up to 3 years. Reduced documentation for the work permit application.
  • the application period for work permits and invitations for HQS is just 14 days (without it – longer).
  • multiple-entry work visas for HQS staffers are issued covering the duration of the work permit – up to three years. When renewing a work permit for a foreign HQS, the validity of the multi-entry work visa (and visas for accompanying family) can be extended with no need to leave the Russian Federation.
  • practically all relatives of the HQS can enter Russia on their Russian visa as accompanying family members for the duration of the work permit. Relatives of the HQS have the right to work in Russia on the HQS visa, as accompanying family members, and may also seek work outside imposed quota numbers, using a simplified application process.
  • if the foreign citizen is in the Russian Federation on a work visa issued for a different legal entity, or on their foreign employer's visa, then this visa can be reissued without having to leave the Russian Federation. 
  • HQS individuals have the right to carry out their work during business trips to any administrative regions of the Russian Federation.
  • HQS individuals and their accompanying family members are permitted to carry out migration registration within 90 days of entry into the Russian Federation. If moving around the Russian Federation, they also have the right not to be placed on the migration register for up to up 30 days.
  • The income of HQS employees is taxed at 13%, and the employer pays only 0.2% tax to the Social Insurance Fund
  • HQS staff and members of their family have the right to apply for a residence permit in a simplified procedure for the duration of the work permit
  • work permit for a foreign specialist can be issued on behalf of a Russian company, a representative office or a branch of a foreign company.


Drawbacks of HQS status:

  • the obligation to pay salaries of at least 167,000 rubles per month (about 2,300 Euros) and account for these payments on a quarterly basis;
  • registration of a valid Health Insurance policy or other agreement on medical care for the HQS and all foreign members of their family - on behalf of the employer is obligatory.

Prices for services for work permit issue to foreign citizens

Price in roubles
Turnaround time
Setting up a work permit for a foreign specialist staffer. 30 000 roubles 14 working days
Extending a work permit for a HQS staffer 30 000 roubles 14 working days
Issuing an entry invitation for a foreign employee or member(s) of their family 6 000 roubles 14 working days
Issuing a multi-entry work visa for an HQS employee 6 000 roubles 14 working days
Placing an HQS staffer on the TAX depertment register 10 000 roubles 7 working days
Submission of quarterly reports to MIA RF on salary obligations to HQS staff members 2 500 roubles 5 working days

Work permits for qualified specialist staff

Foreign citizens who have arrived in Russia on visas are only permitted to take up employment with legal entities (companies or organisations). This means that a foreign national must first find an employer, or open their own company in Russia, and may only then begin the process of applying for a work permit as a qualified specialist employee.

The category of qualified specialist employee in the Russian Federation covers all foreign workers whose salary falls below 167,000 roubles per month.

The process of obtaining a work permit for a qualified specialist consists of three stages, which altogether take around 3-4 months to complete.

At the first stage, the employer advertises the company's vacant position at the Employment Centre for the Population (ECP), and conducts job interviews with such Russian citizens as are sent to them from the ECP.

After one month, permission may be sought from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MID) to recruit foreign labour (RPIRS) for the vacancy. Consideration of these documents takes a further month. Only once the decision from RPIRS is received can an application be made for a work permit and invitation for a work visa for a foreign staffer. This process takes an additional month. It must be noted that a work permits may only be issued for a limited list of vacancies given here, or by making a preliminary quota application to recruit foreign citizens.


  • permits the payment of the minimum wage to a foreign citizen that the region's regulations allow
  • permits application by foreign employees for a work visa – with subsequent renewals available without the need to leave the Russian Federation.


  • permission to recruit foreign staff is given on the basis of quotas, with the exception of a small list of occupations which fall outside the quota system
  • the process of recruitment for hiring staff is complex, and can take between three and four months
  • work visas are issued to foreign employees for a maximum of one year, and cannot be extended by any other legal entity
  • a large number of documents are required to recruit a foreign employee – including medical insurance for foreign citizens; diplomas of higher education; and a certificate of knowledge of the Russian language.

Price in roubles
Turnaround time
Issuing a permit for recruiting a foreign employee to work a company within quotas. 30 000 roubles 60 working days
A personalised work permit for a foreign employee 9 000 rooubles 15 working days
State fees 13 500 roubles per person -

Categories of foreign citizens who do not require work permits to work in Russia

  • Permanent or temporary resident foreign citizens in the Russian Federation (they have the right to carry out work activities only in the region where the Residency Permit was issued);
  • Citizens of the Republic of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Kazakhstan and Armenia - in accordance with the intergovernmental agreement;
  • Participants in the State program to assist voluntary resettlement in the Russian Federation of compatriots living abroad, along with their family members who are resettling with them, in the Russian Federation;
  • Employees of diplomatic missions, employees of consular posts of foreign states in the Russian Federation, employees of international organizations, as well as private domestic workers of these persons;
  • Workers of foreign legal entities (manufacturers or suppliers) performing installation (or installation supervision), service and warranty services, as well as post-warranty repair of technical equipment supplied to the Russian Federation;
  • Journalists accredited in the Russian Federation;
  • Students studying in the Russian Federation in professional and higher educational organizations, as well as students carrying out work during their vacations;
  • Students studying in the Russian Federation in professional and higher educational organizations, as well as working in their free time at these educational organizations, in business societies or in economic partnerships created by budgetary or autonomous higher educational institutions where they study
  • Teaching, with the exception of individuals entering Russia to engage in pedagogical activity in spiritual educational organizations;
  • Workers of representative offices of foreign legal entities registered in the Russian Federation in the manner prescribed by law, and accredited in the appropriate manner on the territory of the Russian Federation, to the extent agreed upon upon accreditation of the representative offices by the authorized accrediting body, on the basis of reciprocity in accordance with international agreements of the Russian Federation;
  • Persons under the age of fourteen years in cinematography organizations, theatres, theatre and concert organizations, circuses (the consent of one parent (or guardian) is required);
  • Athletes under the age of 18;
  • Foreign citizens who have arrived in the Russian Federation for no more than thirty days to carry out touring activities (organizing and conducting, on the basis of civil law agreements on a reimbursable basis, events during which a foreign citizen who is a creative worker, performs public performance of works of literature, art or folk art).