Russia signs law easing visa rules for foreign specialists

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed into law a new bill easing work permit regulations for highly qualified foreign specialists in Russia, including those employed at the Skolkovo hi-tech research hub, the Kremlin said on Monday.

Highly qualified specialists from abroad will now be able to extend the term of their residence permit not after, but during receipt of a work permit. Foreign labor quotas will not be applied to such specialists or their families. They will also be exempt from the necessity to register their residence, a bureaucratic leftover from the Soviet era.

Skolkovo, dubbed Russia’s Silicon Valley, is being built from scratch 20 kilometers west of Moscow. The hub will focus on five research areas: energy, information technologies, communications, biomedical research and nuclear technologies.

Earlier, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said that about 20,000 high-profile foreign professionals and researchers come to Russia annually, while the Kremlin needs some 46,000 skilled foreigners a year to implement its ambitious modernization plans.