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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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Wednesday, Apr. 16


Learn more about AmCham’s efforts during the Joint Manufacturing, and Investment and Legal Committees Meeting today at 9 a.m. Check their website for more information about the event.


Today marks the beginning of IPhEB and CPhI Russia 2014, an international forum for the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology that will be at LenExpo today and tomorrow. Those both already established in the industries and hoping to start a career are encouraged to attend and network with their colleagues.


Thursday, Apr. 17


Expocenter Eurasia at 13 Ulitsa Kapitan Voronin is the sight of Goods on the Way, a five-day event starting today showcasing the latest in the industrial products industry. Bags, backpacks, swimsuits and much, much more will be available to attendees hoping to update not only their style but their accessories for the upcoming summer.


Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.