In the current economic environment, the owners of Belarusian businesses are increasingly employing foreign employees. There are two main reasons for this kind of change: either a foreign employee is a cheaper labour force than the Belarusian employee, or a foreign employee has a higher qualification.
Belarusian legislation allows to hire foreign employees, in case they pass certain administrative procedures and obtain the appropriate permits:
- Permit to engage foreign labour to the Republic of Belarus (Permit to employ a group of foreign employees);
- Special Permit for the right to work in the Republic of Belarus.
The first step, both when obtaining the Permit to engage foreign labour to the Republic of Belarus and when obtaining the Special Permit, is to provide information about availability of job vacancies to the district employment department, in which the employing organization is located. For this purpose, an application in the established form is to be filled, in which, in particular, the positions of the employees to be hired, their education, and the expected salary are to be indicated, and this application signed by the manager is to be submitted to the authorized employee of the employment department. The employer has the right to hire a foreign employee, if the priority categories of employees (citizens of Belarus) do not respond to the vacancy or do not fit, for example, for the reasons of non-compliance with the qualification requirements.
A foreigner, who is engaged as the head of a commercial organization in which establishmet he/she participated (as the property owner, founder, or participant), does not need to go through the above procedure.
Obtaining a permit to employ a group of foreign employees
Obtaining this document is mandatory only for those organizations intending to employ more than 10 foreign employees. If less employees are engaged, it is only necessary to obtain a Special Permit for each of them.
The permit to employ a group of foreign employees is not required for the following persons:
- foreign citizens who are highly skilled employees (having at least 5 years of work experience in the specialty and the salary exceeding 3,975 Belarusian rubles, which is currently equivalent to $ 2,092);
- foreign employees engaged as heads of a commercial organization, in which establishment he/she participated (as the property owner, founder, or participant).
To obtain a Permit, the organization should submit the determined list of documents to the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Department will review these documents within 15 calendar days from the date of their submission. The Permit is valid within 1 year. Upon expiration of the Permit, it is subject to renewal.
Obtaining a Special Permit to employ a foreign citizen
To obtain a Special Permit, a list of documents established by law is to be submitted to the Citizenship and Migration Unit of the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Minsk City Executive Committee or to the Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Regional Executive Committee (depending on location of the employing organization). The unit reviews these documents within:
- 7 calendar days from the date of their submission – if the employer is an investor or an organization established by this investor after concluding an investment agreement during implementation of an investment project, as well as a resident of the High-Tech Park and a member of the “Infopark” scientific and technological association;
- 15 calendar days from the date of their submission – for other employing organizations.
Validity of the Special Permit:
- for highly skilled employees – 2 years;
- for other foreign employees – 1 year.
Upon expiration of the Special Permit, it is subject to renewal.
Having obtained the Special Permit, the employer is required to conclude an employment contract with the foreign employee and submit it within a month for registration to the Citizenship and Migration Unit. In the employment contract concluded with a foreigner, among other mandatory conditions, the following should also be indicated:
- the procedure and conditions for termination, amendment and extension of the employment contract;
- conditions for the employee’s moving to the Republic of Belarus, food, accommodation, medical care.
The employment contract should be concluded in Russian or Belarusian language, as well as in the native language of the foreign employee or another language understandable to the foreign employee.
Working without obtaining the Special Permit is possible for the:
- Citizens of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia;
- Foreign citizens holding a Residence Permit in the Republic of Belarus;
- Heads of representative offices of foreign organizations.
Liability for violating the rules of employment of the foreigners in Belarus
The use of a foreign citizen or stateless person for work without obtaining a Special Permit entails a warning or a fine of up to twenty basic units, which is equivalent to about $ 250.
Also, in accordance with article 23.55 of the Administrative Offences Code, the employee may be held liable for violation of the labour legislation in form of a fine of up to 50 basic units (equivalent to about $ 640) or deportation from the Republic of Belarus.