In December 2012, the government of the Russian Federation announced a change for the labour market access of foreign workers.



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Rossiyskaya gazeta (the official newspaper of the Russian government), Issue 5980 of 14 January 2013,

Resolution 2624- of 30 December 2012,

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Inception date: 19 May 2013 | Removal date: open ended

Labour market access

With Resolution 2624- of 30 December 2012 the Russian government passed a bill concerning highly-qualified migrants in the retail sector. The bill is now under discussion in the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia. On March 20, 2013, it approved it on first reading.
Currently, highly-qualified specialists in Russia are identified by a single, and fairly general criterion: annual earnings of more than 2 million Russian Roubles. This means that a person with only secondary education, but with sufficient earnings, will qualify for the status of "highly-qualified". As a consequence, this person will have the right to a number of attractive benefits. For example, both the highly-qualified migrant, and his/her family are exempted from the rather conservative Russian quota principle in the event of issuance of an employment invitation. The example shows that the current legislation creates beneficial conditions for immigration of groups of people, who can provide documents for their status, but nobody checks if they really occupy positions for highly-qualified personnel.
The new bill has detected the explained problem, and explicitly prohibits an employer or a commissioner to hire foreign workers complying with the definition of a highly-qualified specialist in the retail sale of consumer goods (including pharmaceutical products). In other words, this type of workers cannot be employed as sellers in retail trade, but it is possible to hire them on managerial or coordination-involving positions. The legislator's idea is that a highly-qualified worker must be hired on a trade-related position, corresponding to his/her high level of qualifications.
The Federal Migration Service reports that currently about 20 per cent of the migrants with the status ''highly-qualified'' in Russia are engaged in trade. However, experts confirm that that the Russian migration legislation on the matter leads to distortions. For example, Chinese workers enter Russia with the purpose to trade on its markets; their employer (usually originating from the same country) guarantees that its employees will earn the minimum necessary salary for a highly-qualified specialist. As a result, the quota formalities are circumvented. 
On 7 May 2013 the Russian President signed the proposed draft bill into Federal Law Nr. 83-FZ. It entered into force on 19 May 2013.