The status quo of foreign citizens’ registration in Russia

Russian employers will be allowed to register their foreign employees at the place of employment again. The relevant bill was passed the first reading in the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

The new regulation represents several important amendments to Articles 2 and 20 of the current edition of the Federal Law № 109 dated July 18, 2006 № 109-FZ "On Migration Registration of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons in the Russian Federation." In particular, It is proposed to include place of work into the concept of "place of stay of foreign citizen". This means that their employers will be able again to manage the issue of migration registration on their own without involving landlords into the procedure.

In fact, it will be the return of the regulation taken away by the Federal law № 385 came into force in February of this year, which displeased the business community. The problem arose due to the fact that many landlords refused to perform the procedure of registration.
In this situation the most affected part is large international companies. Firstly, they are not so many mechanisms for influencing the negligent owners of rental housing. Secondly, the size of fines for firms is ten times greater than for natural persons. Therefore, interested organizations addressed their requests to the Russian Federal Migration Service on restoring the previous procedure.

Also the new bill gives the rights to highly qualified foreign workers to act as host for their families if such workers own property in Russia. This, at first glance, a simple and positive initiative raises some questions. Previously employers had the rights to register family members of foreign employees also. New legislative clarification indirectly confirms the impossibility of this, otherwise it makes no sense. Moreover, it is unclear how to register family members of other categories of foreign workers-homeowners.

The last change introduced in the law draft – the increase of the period established for foreign citizens to be registered. Now the registration must be made in three working days. The new deadline will be seven days.

Now the new bill has been preparing for a second reading in the Duma and its content may be changed. It is also important to note that after the final adoption by parliamentarians document must be approved by the Federation Council and signed by the President of the Russian Federation. Therefore, the mentioned changes in the procedure of migration registration are not expected until the second half of March 2011.