Toughening of the Government's position on Russians working from abroad

On December 8, 2023, the position of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection regarding the possibility of concluding employment contracts with Russian citizens who have left the territory of the country was published.

In the opinion of the Ministry, the conclusion of an employment contract on remote work with a citizen for the purpose of carrying out labor activities outside the Russian Federation is not allowed, and cooperation with persons for the purpose of remote work abroad for Russian organizations may be carried out within the framework of civil law relations. The reply also refers to the letter No. 14-2/OOG-5755 from September 9, 2022, which states, among other things, that the execution of relations with persons residing abroad (even in the case of dual citizenship) under employment contracts is contrary to the law and entails serious risks for the Russian labor market.

The position of the Russian Ministry of Labor is not a clarification or a normative legal act, which is directly mentioned in the text. Nevertheless, despite the absence of prohibitions and restrictions on remote work from abroad in the Labor Code of the Russian Federation, the tendency to limit the rights of employees by interpreting the law remains. The above opinion of the Ministry of Labor, although it has no legal force, may nevertheless be used as an argument in labor disputes.

The legislator's position is also confirmed by the initiative of the Ministry of Justice in relation to the activities of lawyers from abroad. The official website of the Ministry reports that on December 11, 2023 at a meeting of the Government Commission on Legislative Activity approved amendments to the Federal Law “On Advocacy in the Russian Federation”, adopted by the State Duma in the first reading on April 12, 2023.

The amendments propose to introduce another ground for termination of the status of an advocate by the Council of the Bar Association, in particular, the departure of an advocate for permanent residence or for a period of more than one year outside the Russian Federation. This introduction will not affect advocates who have left for medical treatment or training, or to accompany family members, who have been sent to perform labor or other duties outside Russia by state authorities or Russian organizations, and for other valid reasons. If the above facts are established, disciplinary proceedings against advocates who have left Russia will be considered under the general rules set out in the Code of Professional Ethics for Advocates.