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Country keen to address reputation for bureaucracy and attract foreign talent.Russia could find itself on the expat radar screen after its government relaxed immigration laws this month
The changes will particularly make it easier for wealthy investors to relocate to Russia with the introduction of an investment visitor visa that is valid for five years.
But it also spells good news for less affluent expats following the announcement made by Russia’s Federal Migration Service (FMS). The Russian temporary residency, which currently ran for three years, will be now be the first stage to the five-year permanent residence visa.
Russia is keen to attract global talent but has a reputation for bureaucracy that puts off many potential expats from relocating there. A spokesman for the FMS said: “The changes are being introduced to help meet Russia’s skilled migration and foreign labour needs.
“Those businesses which are looking at undertaking assignments in Russia should also prepare for further changes as further new immigration laws will be introduced.”
For wealthy investors, they will no longer have to wait for an invitation letter from the FMS but can apply directly to a Russian consulate for the investment visa.
Stuart Moir, a former British expat who worked in Russia, said: “In the past it was very complicated to live and work in Russia and not many people would have considered it. But it sounds like that could all be about to change which is good news as the country has a lot to offer expats.”
However, one strict rule change will require all foreigners to register with Russia’s tax authorities within three days of arriving in the country.
Meanwhile, expats already living in Moscow are downgrading their accommodation according to the latest study by property experts Penny Lane Realty.
A spokesman said: “In the last few years, about 70 per cent of foreigners who sought to rent luxury apartments through Russian real estate agencies normally named their top prices at $15,000 (£10,000) per month. But from the middle of 2012 this started changing.
“We get more and more requests from foreigners for apartments with a rental rate of less than $10,000 (£6,600) a month.”
It attributes this to budget cuts made by European companies affected by austerity measures sweeping the region.
However, the study showed that demand for luxury apartments from Russian citizens was on the rise. “The main reason is the improving welfare of the country. So many top managers have moved to Moscow,” the report added.
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