How to conclude a labour contract with a foreign employee

The speed of a foreigner’s employment depends on his status in Russia. If an employer is interested in employing a foreign citizen, it is necessary to find out his status. It is easiest to employ foreigners who temporarily or permanently reside in Russia. For those who are temporarily in the country, the employment process will be more complicated.

Permanent residents (with a residence permit)

Foreigners with a residence permit (VNZh) or a temporary residence permit (RVP) in Russia can be employed under almost the same conditions as Russian citizens, in accordance with the Labour Code. However, there are some peculiarities:

  • foreigners with a residence permit can work only in the region where the permit was issued, except for certain professions specified in the order of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of Russia from 28.07.2010 № 564n;
  • foreigners with residence permits may work throughout Russia.

These rules apply to both fixed-term labour contracts and contracts with no time limit. It is important to keep track of the expiry date of documents authorising residence in the country and to notify migration authorities of the employment of a foreign worker in a timely manner within 3 working days.

Since 01.11.2019, a residence permit in Russia is issued indefinitely, except for two cases. For highly qualified specialists, a residence permit is issued for the duration of the work permit. Stateless persons can receive a residence permit for 10 years. A temporary residence permit is issued for three years without the possibility of extension.

EEU nationals

In the case of people from the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, which are Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, similar rules apply. They practically get the same rights as Russian citizens. There is no need to obtain any additional work permits and they have access to all social privileges.

Quotas for the attraction of foreigners, relevant for certain sectors of the economy, do not apply to Kazakhs, Armenians, Belarusians and Kyrgyz.

In Russia, their higher education diplomas are recognised without the need for additional verification. However, if the diploma is issued in a foreign language, its translation into Russian and notarisation is required. 

Temporarily staying on a visa with a work permit

According to the legislation – the employer is involved in issuing a work permit for a foreigner temporarily staying on a visa. The work permit specifies:

  • the name of the employer’s organisation;
  • the date of issue of the document giving the right to work;
  • the period of validity of the authorisation to work;
  • the territory where the employee may be employed.

It is important to note that the work permit is issued to a specific employer. If the foreigner wants to change the place of work at his/her own discretion, he/she will need a new permit, which will specify the next employer. Employing a foreigner without the appropriate work permit may result in a fine. The exception is if the foreigner’s previous employer is liquidated or cancelled, then the foreigner is allowed to work under an already issued work permit, provided that there are at least three months left until its expiry.

Temporarily staying without a visa (with a patent)

For foreign citizens who have temporarily arrived without a visa, the basis for work is a patent, which is issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and which is issued independently.

When hiring on a patent, the employer must check its validity period and the territory where the foreigner is authorised to work. The key thing is that the foreigner must work only in the region where the patent was issued. If a change of region is required, the patent must be re-issued.

The foreigner must make monthly advance payments. It is necessary to notify the relevant authorities about employment under a patent within three days after the device, otherwise there is a fine.

Highly qualified specialists

Legislation has introduced special requirements for the employment of foreign highly qualified specialists in Russia, granting them certain privileges. Such specialists are granted status irrespective of their country of origin, provided that they meet the criteria for qualifications and salary specified in Law No. 115-FZ.


  • RUB 58,500 or more – for one calendar month:
    foreigners employed by residents of a technical-innovative special economic zone, except for individual entrepreneurs.
  • 83,500 rubles and more – for one calendar month:
    scientists and teachers engaged to work in accredited educational, scientific institutions and centres, as well as specialists engaged by industrial, tourist, port economic zones and IT companies with state accreditation have special employment conditions. The same applies to foreigners working for legal entities in Crimea and Sevastopol.
  • RUB 750,000 or more – for one quarter:
    Other foreign citizens.
  • RUB 1,000,000 or more – for one year (365 calendar days):
    specialists in medicine, education and science invited to work in an international medical cluster.
  • are not subject to salary requirements:
    Foreign participants of the Skolkovo project acting in accordance with Federal Law No. 244-FZ of 28.09.2010.

Work permits for such specialists are granted for a period of up to 3 years and they are allowed to work in different regions of Russia. However, the legislation restricts their involvement in certain types of activities, the list of which is specified in the same Law No. 115-FZ.

Peculiarities of drawing up an employment contract with a foreigner

The employment of a foreigner in Russia is subject to the Labour Code and is directly similar to the employment of Russian workers, but there are certain peculiarities. It is forbidden to hire a foreigner who is not of age. If the foreigner is over 18 years of age, it is possible to conclude an employment contract, adding some additional clauses that relate to the foreigner’s position in Russia: work permit, residence permit, payment for travel and housing.

The employment contract must be translated into the employee’s native language or the language he or she speaks.

Model employment contracts for foreigners vary in terms of the nature of work and position, and there is no universal version, but an employer may adapt a standard employment contract by supplementing it with conditions from Article 327.2 of the Russian Labour Code.

Dismissal of a foreign employee

Dismissal of foreigners is carried out similarly to the procedure for dismissal of Russian citizens, but there are some differences. Foreign employees can be dismissed for additional reasons, which are specified in Article 327.6 of the Russian Labour Code:

  1. expiry or revocation of a residence or temporary residence permit;
  2. expiry of a work permit;
  3. expiry of a patent;
  4. exceeding the established number of foreign workers;
  5. expiry or revocation of a permit to employ foreigners;
  6. expiry of a health insurance policy or other contract in the Russian Federation.

If the termination is related to the expiry of the employee’s documents, the employer is entitled to a thirty-day termination period. A notice of termination of the employment contract with a foreign citizen is sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Failure to comply with this rule may result in fines for the employer.