The documents you need to be familiar with when hiring in Russia

The documents you need to be familiar with when hiring in Russia

Russia is infamous for its bureaucracy. And employment law is one of the areas, where this is especially prominent.

In order to hire an employee in Russia, one has to review and fill out  many documents. However, there are not equivalents in our home country for all of these documents. This post is intended to give an overview of the essential documents when hiring in Russia and how they relate to each other. The documents mentioned below are necessary when you are hiring a Russian national. When you want to hire a foreign national you might also have to apply for a work permit on his behalf. This may all seem overwhelming, but Van Rhijn & Partners is here to help you.

Logically, the most important law for this article is the Russian Labor Code (Трудовой кодекс Российской Федерации).
When I refer to an article in this document without mentioning the law, I mean the Labor Code.

Firstly, article 65 provides us with an exhaustive list of documents that an employer may (and in some cases) must ask from a person he/she intends to hire, these are as follows (links on this page):

  • Passport
  • Employment record book (трудовая книжка).
  • A pension insurance certificate from the Russian Pension Fund (СНИЛС).
  • Documents of military registration – (воинский учет).
  • Relevant diplomas, in case education is a prerequisite for the work that he/she will carry out.
  • Confirmation of the absence of a criminal record.
  • A doctor’s certificate certifying the individual is of good health.
  • A document that shows whether or not a person has been subject to administrative sanctions for the consumption of narcotics or psychotropic substances without the appointment of a doctor (this document I won’t discuss in detail, since I believe it’s not of relevance to my audience. If you disagree, please do let me know).

In addition to these documents from article 65 I discuss a number of other documents and matters that are linked to the recruitment of staff in Russia on this page:

  • The employee’s request to be given this job (заявление о приеме на работу).
  • The tax identification number (ИНН) of the employee.
  • The Employment Contract itself (трудовой договор).
  • An order to hire someone (приказ о приеме на работу).
  • The job description (должностная инструкция).
  • The logbook of employment record books within your organization (Книга учета движения трудовых книжек и вкладышей).
  • Employees personal card (личная карточка работника).
  • The working time sheet (табель учета рабочего времени).

And at the end I  will provide a conclusion.


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Russian Passport

This is obvious, but has to be mentioned. You have to verify the person applying for the job is who he/she claims to be.

The employee’s request to be given the job  (заявление о приеме на работу).

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Russian request for a job

According to the Labor Code, it is not mandatory to draw up this document, however it is useful to do it anyway. It is a very common document in Russia and not possessing it can be harmful should you need to prove the relationship between the employer and the employee.

For example, the Regional Court of Yaroslavl stated in case no. 33-6392 of 10 November 2014 that a vague employment contract (in which essential conditions, like the position and the level of the salary were missing) combined with the absence of a request to be given the job is insufficient to prove the existence of an employment relationship.

Fixed-term employment contracts can only be concluded in certain cases in Russia and the reason for signing a fixed-term contract, instead of a contract for an indefinite period has to be stated within the contract itself.

In a previous court case, a fixed-term employment contract without this compulsory legal motivation was concluded. In the accompanying request to be given the job the term was however indefinite. Here the Court took into account both the lack of compulsory information in the labour agreement and the referral to a contract for an indefinite period in the request to come to the conclusion that this contract should be seen as concluded for an indefinite period of time.

So, although not mandatory, you must be familiar with this document if you are active in Russia.

Strangely enough, it is customary to write such requests by hand in Russia.

A pension insurance certificate from the Russian Pension Fund (СНИЛС)

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Author: Eloquent2013 – own work, Public domain,

Pursuant to Article 6 (1) of the Russian Federal law on individual registration for compulsory pension insurance, this document is provided by the Pension Fund.

If the job-seeker has not worked anywhere before this, the employer must apply for this document on his behalf.

Documents of military registration (воинский учет)

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By virtue of article 8 paragraph sub of the Law on Defense (Федеральный закон от 31.05.1996 N 61-ФЗ “Об обороне”) every organization registered in Russia must keep track of which employees can be called upon for military service should the need arise.

The persons covered by this are laid down in points 14 and 15 of the Decree of the Russian Government Approval of the Rules of Military Registration.

These are:

  • Male citizens aged 18 to 27 who are not reservists
  • Reservists, these are:
    • Those who have fulfilled their conscription and are now reservists. (The age to which one is a reservist varies from 45 to 70 and depends on the rank that was fulfilled in the army and the moment at which one became a reservist).
    • Those who have completed a study at a military faculty of a government institution
    • Those who are exempt from military service.
    • Those who are 27 or older and have not been in service because they have been deferred or have not been summoned for other reasons.
    • Those who have completed an alternative civil service, instead of military service.
    • Women who have followed a special military education.

The following people do not fall under the obligation for military registration:

  • Those who are exempt from military service, in accordance with the Compulsory Service Act.
  • Those who are currently in military service.
  • Prisoners.
  • Women without a special military education.
  • Those whose permanent place of residence is not in Russia.
  • Officers who are reservists for the Foreign Intelligence Service or the FSB.

If someone has not yet entered service, but has already undergone the inspection prior to it, he must have a citizen’s certificate subject to conscription  (удостоверение гражданина, подлежащего призыву на военную службу).

Russian citizen’s certificate subject to conscription

The most important document of military registration is a military card (военный билет).

Russian military card

This document is provided to someone before he enters military service and when he leaves it. The document is also provided to reservists.

If an individual does not have the correct documents on the basis of which a military card could be created, he might have been given a temporary certificate instead of a military card (временное удостоверение, выданное взамен военного билета).

In addition, confusingly, you also have the certificate instead of the military card (справка взамен военного билета). This is a document for Russians who are 27 years or older who have not been in military service.


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It is up to the employer to determine whether specific education is required in order to carry out the work being conducted.

Confirmation of the absence of a criminal record

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Confirmation of the absence of a criminal record in Russia

What this document implies speaks for itself. Not every employer has the right to ask the candidate for this document. Only for professions to which people with a criminal record have not been admitted on the basis of the law is this a required document. This concerns, for example, work in the following spheres:

  • All work where the employee has contact with minors.
  • Aviation.
  • Employees of the Russian Security Service (FSB).
  • Bailiffs.
  • Customs officers.
  • Employees of clearing houses.
  • Employees of the Public Prosecution Service.
  • Security of energy depots.
  • Professions concerned with road safety.

A certificate of good health (issued by a doctor)

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For certain professions, the employer is obliged to ask the employee for a health certificate issued by a doctor.

Examples of the areas that this applies to:

  • Candidates who are recruited to work in the High North or equivalent areas, unless they already lived there (Article 324).
  • Employees who are not yet 18 years old (Article 69).
  • Candidates for whom the working conditions will be  ‘harmful or dangerous’. Harmful and dangerous are any underground activities and activities in the field of transport (Article 213).

A Tax Certificate in which the employee has been assigned a Tax ID number (ИНН)

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Certificate of Personal Tax Identification Number Russia

This document is not mentioned in article 65, but this number must be known to the employer to be able to pay Personal Income Tax for the employee.

An employment contract (трудовой договор)

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Russian Employment Contract

Definition and distinction from other contracts

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Logically, the employment contract is the most important document in Russian labor law. What exactly is meant by an employment contract in Russia is described in article 56 of the Labor Code: An agreement between employer and employee, according to which the employer ensures that he provides suitable paid work to the employee. The employee, in turn, undertakes the specified work, directed and supervised by the employer.
It’s very important to make an accurate distinction between employment contracts and other civil law contracts, because this determines which law applies to them.

The civil code gives more leeway to parties and applies to the other civil law contracts. Labour Law on the contrary is much more strict.This description in article 56 has been carefully chosen to clearly distinguish the employment contract from civil law agreements, such as the contract of assignment and the contractor agreement.
In contrast to the latter two agreements, which are all about the result (for example, building a house), the employment contract centres its attention on the person. Only the employee can carry out the work under the employment contract. The employee cannot hire someone else to do the work for him/her.  Another characteristic of the employment relationship is hierarchy, meaning the employee must comply with the employer’s regulations.
In the case of contracts of acceptance and assignment, the contractor or the contractor organizes the work itself for the most part. With an employment contract, this is the responsibility of the employer.

If it walks like a duck….

Of course employers in Russia, like in other countries try to avoid the strict provision of Russian Labour Law, by giving an employment contract a different name. This, however does not work. In accordance with paragraph 4 of of article 11 of the Labor Act, such relationships are equated with labor relations and employment law therefore applies to them.

The content of a Russian employment contract

The following data should at the very least be included in a Russian employment contract (Article 57):

  • Name, surname and patronymic (if he has one) of the employee. See wikipedia for a short explanation of the concept of patronymic in Russia, if you’re not familiar with it.
  • Name of the employer.
  • Passport information on the employee. Or if he does not have a passport, the details of another document on the basis of which his identity can be determined.
  • The Tax Identification Number (ИНН) of the employer.
  • Information about the person who represents the employer and on the basis of which document he signs the employment contract on behalf of the employer.
  • Date and place where the employment contract was concluded.
  • Place where the work will be performed.
  • The function title of the employee.
  • Date on which the agreement will take effect. In the case of a fixed-term employment contract, the term of the contract must also be stated. Employment contracts for an indefinite period of time may only be concluded in Russia in certain cases. The reason for concluding a fixed-term employment contract must also be included in the text of the agreement.
  • Size of the salary, surcharges bonuses and the like.
  • Compensation for heavy work and for harmful and hazardous working conditions, with a description of the circumstances of heavy labor
  • Details about the compulsory health insurance of the employee, in accordance with the Labor Act and other Russian laws.
  • Other circumstances that by law should be included in an employment contract, if they occur.

Although the aforementioned items are mandatory elements of an employment contract, their absence does not lead to nullity or voidability of the agreement. In that case, the employment contract will have to be supplemented, for example by adding an appendix.

The order to hire someone (приказ о приеме на работу)

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Order to hire an employee in Russia

Based on the employment contract, the employer then issues an order to accept the employee (article 68).
Form N T-1 must be used for this.
The following items must be included in the order:

  • The name of the employer.
  • The date on which the work begins.
  • Whether someone works full- or part-time.
  • Title of the employee and the department on which he will come to work.
  • The salary being given to the employee.
  • Whether a probation period applies, and if so, how long it takes.

Please note: the employment contract remains the guiding document. Many things that are included in there must also be in the order.

The order must be submitted to the employer for signature within 3 days of commencement of his work (article 68).

The job description (должностная инструкция)

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In Russia, if a company wants to use a job description for a specific position, this must be explicitly mentioned in the employment contract. As a document, the job description is often an appendix to the employment contract, but this is not necessary. It must be signed by the employee.

The Employment record book (трудовая книжка)

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Russian Employment Record Book

Pursuant to article 66, the employment record is the most important document that indicates what an individualswork experience is. The form of the workbook and the rules for completing it are determined by the Russian government. It is the responsibility of the employer to fill in the labor booklet for every employee whose main activities are carried out with him for more than 5 days.

In some cases, the workbook does not have to be shown:

  1. If the employee has not worked for this and therefore has not yet received an employment record book.
  2. If the employment record book is lost or damaged. In this case, the employee must address a written request for a new one to the employer, with the reason that he no longer has his previous employment record book.

The employment record book is kept and filled in by the HR department of the employer. After termination of the employment relationship, the employer must return it to the employee. This all sounds pretty futile, but it is not. If the employer fails to hand over the workbook to the employee, this can have very serious consequences. This may even mean that the employment contract is not considered dissolved and the salary must continue to be paid. It happens that cunning employees do not pick up their employment record book themselves in the hope of being able pick the financial fruits of that deception. If you are dealing with such evasive behavior as an employer, you must clearly try to hand over the  employment record book. By sending it by registered mail to the home address of the employee, for example. If you can hand over the employment record book, it is wise to have the employee sign a document for receipt. To do so is quite common in Russia.

Logbook of employment record books(Книга учета движения трудовых книжек и вкладышей)

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Russian logbook of employment record books

Yes, it is also required to have and keep this book.

The personal card of the employee (личная карточка работника)

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Russian Personal Card of an Employee

HR must create a personal card for the employee, according to the form established by the Federal Bureau of Statistics. Many of the above documents serve as a basis for filling in this personal card. The data on the military status of the employee must also be included, for example.

Official working time sheet (табель учета рабочего времени)

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Time sheet work time Russia

In this document, also documented by the Federal Office of Statistics, the hours worked must be kept. This is also mandatory.


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I hope that the overview that I have given in this article creates more clarity than confusion. Even for Russians, it is not easy to meet all the administrative requirements listed in this article. This, of course,  is even more difficult for foreign entrepreneurs in Russia. In most cases it is therefore preferable to outsource these administrative tasks to a reliable service provider. Van Rhijn & Partners is happy take over these administrative tasks for you, so that you can concentrate on doing what you are good at: effectively running your business. We can also help you attract suitable Russian candidates for your Russian company. Are you interested, or do you have any further comments or questions? Please contact us or leave your comments below.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Davina

    Can a Russian employee have a manager based in a different country? Is there legislation which states their manager must be based in Russia?

    1. Ivo van Rhijn

      Hello Davina,

      If the manager is the formal director of a Russian legal entity he can be based elsewhere but needs to obtain a work permit in order to have this position in a Russian company.
      If the manager is not formally employed in a Russian entity and also not living in Russia there are other solutions to make sure his instructions are followed. I will send you an e-mail about this.

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