The Russian Migration Authority responsible for the Moscow region recently started to enforce laws requiring foreign employees to be present in Russia at regular intervals, and providing for the cancellation of a work permit if a foreign employee is not in Russia at least at certain intervals. This potential cancellation of a work permit even applies to employees classified as highly qualified specialists.

A work permit can be cancelled based on the statutory requirement that every holder of a work permit must be present in Russia at least once in any six-month period in order to keep a work permit valid (Art. 18 section 9 subsection 9 of Federal Law No. 115-FZ dated 25 July 2002 "On Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation"). Even though this legal requirement has existed for years, until recently, we had never heard of a European citizen's work permit being cancelled by the Russian Migration Authority. In light of this new enforcement practice, we recommend checking to be sure that all foreign employees, especially those who visit Russia only occasionally, are present in Russia on a regular basis.

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