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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, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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