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Have you got a work permit?

 
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Kira



Joined: 12 Apr 2003
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 6:49 am    Post subject: Have you got a work permit? Reply with quote

This is a question for all who are teaching/have taught in Russia under the new visa regulations.

How many of you actually have work permits? This is distinct from a work visa (which merely allows you in and out of the country) and it seems would be an additional document given you by the school.

As far as I am aware, most schools say the tax is paid by the employer, (which reading between the lines, may mean "stay out of the tax situation--you wouldn't like what we're doing and you probably couldn't understand it anyway"). So, how many of you are actually up to par on this documentation and do you have any tips/info?

Considering their trying to crack down on foreigners paying taxes, etc., it would be helpful to know just how common it is to actually work legally and how risky it is if you aren't.

--Kira
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2118
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 7:25 am    Post subject: work permit Reply with quote

Hello Kira:

It's a very good question. Sometimes I wonder myself if I'm really "up to par on all of this documentation", as you put it.

In my case, I have a brown, numbered visa, pasted directly into my passport that lists "Teacher" as my official occupation and purpose for entry. On that same visa, my employer's name is also clearly visible.

Whether this is actually a work permit, or a work visa ... is anyone's guess. Shocked I'm in over my head on that one.

The 3 foreigners currently working at my school have also just recently received our new 'migration cards' from the local immigration office, so I'm assuming we're all here legally, although I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

Over the past 2 years, I have also left the country on holiday and returned twice without any problems at immigration whatsoever. Knock on wood, as they say.

As I mentioned on another thread, sometimes you just 'go with the flow' and hope for the best. It's not the most reassuring thought in the world, but life in Russia is full of uncertainty, compromise, paradox, corruption and red-tape.

'Newbies' coming to Russia should most definitely take this stuff seriously ... and question their prospective employers about their visa status ... before hopping on that flight. That's the best advice I can give.

Regards,
kENt
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rogan



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 416
Location: at home, in France

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*************

Last edited by rogan on Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2118
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:01 am    Post subject: sounds familiar! Reply with quote

Dear Rogan:

"Don't ask - don't tell - don't pay taxes?"

Now that sounds like the Russia I know and love! Cool

Peace,
keNt
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Zolushka



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Kira! A work permit is an A4 piece paper with all kinds of information beautifully printed on it. It is not for you to keep, unfortunately. It is more for your employer. Anyway, you could always request a copy, if you fancy having one. A working visa is another kettle of fish! In essence, a visa is for you to enter and exit a country, whereas a work permit is for various internal government departments.
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rogan



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 416
Location: at home, in France

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

* *******

Last edited by rogan on Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2118
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:13 am    Post subject: a question for Zolushka Reply with quote

Privyet Zolushka:

Thanks for jumping into this discussion. It's terribly confusing for anyone to make heads or tails of this topic.

My question for you: Assuming one has a valid working visa (like the one I described in my first post above) does this mean that my employer automatically has that A4 working permit you described?

I think the answer is probably 'no', but what good is the visa without the permit? Maybe you can shed some light on this?

As Rogan just said; If the largest English language school in Russia (IH-BKC) doesn't issue a working permit, what does that say about this weird system?

Thanks in advance for your input, Zolushka Exclamation

Warm regards,
kENt
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Kira



Joined: 12 Apr 2003
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's to shed some light on the situation.

I am aware of the difference between a work permit and a work visa. See first post.

"How many of you actually have work permits? This is distinct from a work visa (which merely allows you in and out of the country) and it seems would be an additional document given you by the school."

I am indeed not "mistaking and entry/exit visa with a work permit", but my request as to whether any of you out there actually have a work permit seems to have wreaked some havoc.

As to Kent's visa stuck in his passport--no it's just a visa, even though it says "teacher" and even though it is in your passport and not in the style of the old separate paper visas (which are finally being phased out)--it is not a work permit.

The visa gives the the right (albeit revocable) to enter and leave the county. It does not give you the right to work. (Nor does an entry/exit visa for any other country)

As far as I am aware, an A4 is an American document (?) and I would be surprised if the Russians are using an American document for their own visas--"A work permit is an A4 piece paper with all kinds of information beautifully printed on it. It is not for you to keep, unfortunately". And I would second that the A4-type thingy is not something most employees would keep but that it is indeed filed away in some dusty Soviet vault, with blue stamps and signatures all over.

As to Kent's last question: "Assuming one has a valid working visa (like the one I described in my first post above) does this mean that my employer automatically has that A4 working permit you described?" No. No way. The idea of such a smooth-functioning above-board system makes me laugh. In fact, that's the reason I asked the question in the first place. The vast majority of foreigners are teaching English illegally in Russia. Their employers are not paying taxes, and in some places, the feds are threatening to buckle down and get the money one way or another, whether from the business or the exiting foreigners.

Just like anywhere else--the border officials need to know you have the right to enter the country. Having a work permit doesn't mean you can enter the country and likewise having the right to enter the country, even on a work visa, doesn't mean you have the right to work there. The documents are filed through different branches of the government--OVIR wouldn't handle work visas.

So, all these TEFL folks are entering and exiting the country legally, and making money for their bosses illegally. (Save, it would seem, the British Council--cheers.)

So, are there any other organizations or any other folks out there working in the country legally? And for all you working illegally--have you ever been harassed?

Whew! That's more than a little confusion. Rolling Eyes

Kira
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2118
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 1:26 pm    Post subject: unsettling Reply with quote

Hi Kira:

Thanks for your reply. If what you're saying is true, then it is indeed a bit unsettling to think that most of us, at least technically, are working here illegally.

So far, in the 2 years I've been here, I have not been harasssed by anyone at any time with regard to my visa and/or status as an English teacher.

If that day ever comes, I will direct the official-in-charge to my employer's apartment. I keep his mobile phone number and private address with me at all times. If I go down, I'm taking him with me. Twisted Evil

Regards,
kENt

PS: Don't worry about 'wreaking havoc' with your question. That's what forums like this are for. In my humble opinion, it's good for people to be under no illusions about what it's like to live and work in Russia; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Wink
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rogan



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 416
Location: at home, in France

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

**********

Last edited by rogan on Tue Jul 08, 2003 6:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2118
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2003 5:52 am    Post subject: right on! Reply with quote

Hello Rogan:

You are absolutely correct.

What baffles me is this: I am properly registered at immigration with a working visa that clearly says I'm a teacher; my passport is bursting at the seams with visas and stamps from official Russian authorities; I have an official invitation from a registered and legal Russian company; I have done EVERYTHING within my power to conform to the laws of the land ... and yet my status here without a proper working permit is STILL technically illegal?

I don't get it. Shocked

Surely the Russian authorities MUST know that schools like BKC, LL, Linguamir, et al. are employing us to teach ... not merely to enjoy the cultural treasures of Mother Russia.

Oh well. At times like these, you just shrug your shoulders and remind yourself that this is the "new" Russia. We need to be patient.

Here's how I see it: If we English teachers were really in SERIOUS violation of any applicable laws, the immigration authorities certainly know where we all live and work ... and they would do something about it.

And if they did something about it, (i.e. mass deportations of foreign English teachers on the 10pm NTV News) that would create quite a scandal. Maybe that's what it takes to enact the kind of changes that are necessary? A scary but not unimaginable thought for those who know and understand Russia. Wink

Warm regards,
keNt
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