On the maximum allowable percentage of foreign workers that retailers and sports-related business entities may employ in the Russian Federation

The Russian Health Ministry’s Order No. 71n of February 1, 2012 (Moscow) “On Approval of an Explanation of the Application of Government Decree No. 1086 of December 22, 2011 “On Establishing for 2012 the Allowable Percentage of Foreign Workers that Retailers and Sports-related Business Entities May Employ in the Russian Federation” came into force on April 29, 2012.

Recall that Resolution No. 1086 of December 22, 2012 imposed limits for the year 2012 on the number of foreign workers that may by employed by companies engaged in the following activities in Russia:

a) Retail sale of alcoholic beverages, including beer (code 52.25.1);

b) Retail sale of pharmaceutical products (code 52.31);

c) Retail sale in stalls and markets (code 52.62);

d) Other retail sale not in stores (code 52.63).

Such companies may not employ foreign workers at all.


With regard to sports-related businesses (code 92.62), foreign workers may comprise up to 25% of the total number of workers.

In its explanations, the Health Ministry emphasized that:

  • Resolution № 1086 applies to all foreign workers staying in Russia legally and contains no exceptions, not even for highly skilled workers.

  • Business entities that are registered to engage in these types of activity (except 92.62) may not employ foreign workers regardless of their profession (specialization).


However, the text of the explanations contains an important comment:

Under Article 2 of the Federal Law No. 115-FZ of 25 July 2002 “On the Legal Status of Foreigners in the Russian Federation” (Collected Legislation of the Russian Federation, 2002, No. 30, Art. 3032; 2006, No. 30, Art. 3286; 2010, No. 31, Art. 4196), a foreign worker is a foreigner temporarily staying in the Russian Federation who is lawfully employed.

Therefore, Resolution No. 1086 does not apply to foreigners temporarily or permanently residing in the Russian Federation.

In effect, this means that retailers of alcoholic beverages, including beer (code 52.25.1) and pharmaceutical products (code 52.31), as well as retailers who sell through stalls and/or in markets (code 52.62) and those that engage in other retail trade not in stores (code 52.63), may employ the following categories of foreigners:

  • Those that have a temporary residence permit;

  • Those that have a residence permit;

  • Those that have a residence permit for highly skilled workers;

  • Accompanying family members of highly skilled workers who have duly obtained a residence permit.