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Doing Business in Russia as an Expat

Published: February 18, 2014 (Issue # 1797)




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Are you thinking of looking for a job or even starting a business in Russia? Expats working in Russia number among the highest paid worldwide, with one-third earning over 250,000 USD per year. There are many opportunities in the fields of human resources, business development, IT and finance. The industrial sector, especially energy, construction and metallurgy, also offers many jobs. A good number of expats also find jobs in Russia in the management tier.

A special visa category exists for highly-qualified professionals. These work visas are processed within weeks, and have no quotas, but in order to qualify for this type of visa you must earn a minimum of two million rubles (57,800 USD) per year. If your position does not qualify you for this visa category, your potential employer must apply for a corporate work permit at least one year in advance. Since there are annual quotas for the number of foreign work permits that can be issued per year, there is no guarantee that your application will be successful.

If your dream is to open your own business in Russia, it is important to do your research and know what to expect and what you are getting yourself into. The rules and regulations for companies and businesses in Russia may vary considerably from those in your home country. First of all, you need to know what kind of business you’re allowed to open as a foreigner. Generally, there are no restrictions for foreigners who wish to open a business in Russia, except if they are in the fields of insurance, air transportation or gas supply. There are also restrictions for foreign investors who wish to invest in companies active in the strategic sector.

Next you need to decide what type of legal form your company will have. Depending on different factors, you can register it as a limited liability company or a joint stock company. Foreign companies are also allowed to open branches in Russia. If you wish to register yourself as an individual entrepreneur, then you must first possess a temporary or permanent residence permit.

Before going to Russia to open your company, you should visit on a fact-finding trip. On this trip, you can learn more about the local economy and do some market research. How is business done in your branch or field? What are differences between how things are done in Russia and in your home country? Will your business be catering mostly to expats or locals as well? In the latter case, be sure to learn as much as you can about local lifestyles, attitudes and wants. Is your business addressing a local need in the community?

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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