Foreign employees hired as highly qualified specialists (HQS) must have when they work in Russia a medical insurance policy/voluntary health insurance contract (known in Russian as DMS) as these employees are not covered by the compulsory health insurance system in place in Russia (Article 10(1) Federal Law No. 326-FZ On Compulsory Health Insurance in the Russian Federation dated November 11, 2010), so their employers cannot issue them a compulsory medical insurance policy (known in Russian as OMS).

December 3, 2021 It will be possible from December 4 to provide migrant workers with voluntary health insurance policies in electronic form. Using e-policy serial numbers, employers will be able to check e-policies on the websites of insurers. From April 1, 2022 onwards, voluntary health insurance policies will have to be valid throughout the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia Directive N 5974-U dated October 11, 2021).

Employers often wonder whether it is necessary to issue a DMS to HQS. If so, who should issue such policy, what are the requirements for such policy, and with which insurance company the DMS should be concluded, etc.?

Legal basis

Article 13.2(14) of Federal Law N 115-FZ dated July 25, 2002 On the Legal Status of Foreign Nationals in the Russian Federation (further “Federal Law No. 115”) provides that HQS and their family members who are foreign nationals arriving in the Russian Federation must have a health insurance policy valid in the Russian Federation or must be entitled under an agreement concluded by the employer or the customer of services with a medical organization to receive primary and specialized medical care.

Providing HQS and their family members with the guarantees of receiving medical care throughout the term of their employment contract or civil law contract for provision of services is a mandatory condition of employment contracts or essential term of civil law contracts for provision of services.

Requirements for medical policy are also provided by Central Bank of Russia Directives No. 3793-U dated September 13, 2015 On the Minimum (standard) Requirements for Providing Medical Insurance / Voluntary Medical Insurance to Foreign Nationals and Stateless Persons in the Russian Federation to Work (further the “Central Bank Directives”).

Based on the interpretation of the law and its application by Russian migration authorities, a medical policy must be issued to HQS.

Requirements for DMS to be issued to HQS

When getting a medical insurance (DMS) for HQS, the following basic minimum and mandatory requirements must be met:

  1. The voluntary medical insurance policy (DMS) must be issued to a specific HQS and must include all his/her personal details for his/her identification:
    • Full name;
    • Passport details (number, date of issue, date of birth, etc.)

    Personal data must be provided as specified in the notarized translation of the foreign national’s passport. All personal data must match the details specified in the relevant employment contract/civil law contract and work permit. All translations of all HQS documents must be identical. Some letters in names are sometimes translated/transliterated differently, and translations end up being inconsistent. We therefore recommend employees (customers) to verify this to avoid any inconsistencies.

  2. DMS is to be issued for the duration of the employment contract/civil law contract.
    It is also possible to issue a policy for a definite term with possible extension (e.g. every year) while it remains valid throughout. If necessary/possible, the medical policy may be issued earlier and can also be used when applying abroad for a multi-entry work visa for HQS. The policy may also provide that it will enter into force no earlier than the work permit start date. Either the employer (customer) or the insured person indicates the appropriate term to the insurance company in compliance with the relevant work permit (employment/civil law contract).
  3. DMS details (number, validity term) are material terms of contracts and must be specified in the employment contract/civil law contract (Article 327.2(2) Russian Labor Code).
  4. DMS must specify that the policy is valid in the Russian Federation. The constituent entity of the Russian Federation in which the insured person intends to work must be included in the DMS territory of validity. It should be noted that when a work permit is issued for work in two constituent entities of the Russian Federation or more, in case of a position entailing travels or business trips in Russia, the policy must be valid in all relevant territories. That is why it is better to indicate the Russian Federation rather than a specific constituent entity of the Russian Federation. Practice also shows that the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not accept policies that are valid “worldwide”.
  5. DMS must be duly worded and provide HQS with insurance coverage for “primary health care and specialized medical care for emergency” in cases of diseases and conditions as listed in Article 35(6) of Federal Law N 326-FZ dated November 29, 2010 On Compulsory Medical Insurance in the Russian Federation.

The DMS program for migrant workers should also provide for:

  1. Payment of expenses for the following used by medical staff when providing emergency medical care in compliance with primary health care and specialized medical care standards under DMS programs for migrant workers:
    • Medical products/drugs included in the list of vital and essential drugs for medical use and of medical devices approved by the Russian Government (Appendix N 1 to Russian Government Decree N 2406-r dated October 12, 2019);
    • Medical devices included in the list of medical devices implanted into the human body upon provision of medical care under the program of state guarantees of free medical care to the public approved by the Russian Government (Russian Government Decree N 3053-r dated December 31, 2018).
  2. Payment for nutritional care in hospital and donated blood and its components.
    We also recommend providing for the payment of expenses for repatriation of HQS in case of death.
    At the request of the employer/customer, the DMS program may be extended and provide for any other additional conditions.
  3. The DMS minimum insured amount is RUB 100,000 for each insured person for the period of validity of the DMS policy.This amount may be set as reducible, calculated as the difference between the amount at the beginning of the validity term of the DMS contract and the amount of insurance compensation provided by the insurer during the validity term of the DMS contract to cover all insured event that have occurred (“total insurance coverage”).
    If the total insurance coverage is fully used up, the insurer’s obligation under the DMS contract is deemed fulfilled, and the DMS contract is terminated, i.e. a new contract must be concluded. In such case, the insurer must notify the policyholder and the insurer person of the reduction in the total insurance coverage within 5 working days of such reduction when it is below RUB 10,000.
  4. DMS from employer / customer of services.The employer’s name must be specified as indicated in foundation documents and recorded in the State Register of Legal Entities and as specified in the relevant employment contract/civil law contract and work permit.
    Since the law does not prohibit foreign nationals to get their own medical insurance, HQS may, if they agree, get their own policy if necessary, but such policy must specify the employer’s or customer’s details to avoid any problems in the future when work permits are renewed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It should be noted that Article 16(5) of Federal Law No.115 and Regulations on Provision of Guarantees of Material, Medical, and Housing Support to Foreign Nationals and Stateless Citizens for their Stay in the Russian Federation approved by Government Decree N 167 dated March 24, 2003 (Item 3) set out that it is the employer that is to take measures to guarantee medical support to their employees.

When accompanied by family members, a medical insurance policy is issued for each family member accompanying the HQS in the same way it is issued to the HQS.

Choosing an insurance company

Employers/customers are entitled to choose any insurance company that is willing to comply with the all the above minimum mandatory requirements for medical insurance policy for HQS. The insurer concluding a DMS contract for migrant workers must also comply with all the provisions on insurance terms set out in the Central Bank Directives.

Such policy is, as a rule, called in Russia “migrant worker policy”.

Foreign medical insurance policy

Although the law does not prohibit HQS to have a foreign medical insurance policy, it should be noted that such policy must also comply with the above requirements.

And since foreign insurance policies are drafted in a foreign language, it will be necessary to translate them into Russian and get the Russian translation notarized and apostilled. The Ministry of Internal Affairs does accept such foreign medical insurance policies when renewing work permits provided they are duly translated, notarized, and apostilled.

Risks when HQS have no medical insurance policy

  1. HQS work permits cannot be renewed without a valid medical insurance policy Article 13.2(17(3))) Federal Law No. 115).
  2. Employers/customers will not be entitled to hire foreign nationals as HQS for 2 years if they fail to fulfill the obligations to HQS as set out in Federal Law No. 115 or the obligations arising from the employment contracts concluded with HQS, or they have failed to comply with the material terms of civil law contracts for provision of services concluded with HQS (Article 13.2(26(1)) Federal Law No. 115). Such ban will be issued by the relevant local office of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs when these circumstances are identified (Article 13.2(26.1) Federal Law No. 115).
  3. The employer must suspend the employee from work from the expiration date of the medical insurance policy until a new policy is issued although such suspension may not exceed 1 month. In such case, the employer must comply with the minimum level of wages payable to HQS.
  4. Expiration of voluntary medical insurance policies valid in the Russian Federation or the contracts concluded by the employer with a medical organization for provision of paid medical services ensuring the provision of primary health care and specialized emergency medical care is an additional ground for termination of employment contracts with foreign employees (Article 327.6 Russian Labor Code). Employment contracts are to be terminated on this ground within 1 month of the date on which the relevant circumstances arise.
    Having a valid medical insurance policy is also a material condition that must be fulfilled under civil law contracts (Article 13.2(14(2)) Federal Law No. 115). The parties are entitled to terminate the contract if either party is in breach of any material conditions of the contract (Article 450(2(1)) Russian Civil Code).
  5. If a foreign national is hired to work without a DMS policy or a contract for paid medical services, this could result in administrative liability under Article 5.27(1) of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses:
  6. A warning or the imposition of an administrative fine is provided for violation of labor laws or other labor regulations:
    • Fine from RUB 1,000 to RUB 5,000 imposed on company officers;
    • Fine from RUB 1,000 to RUB 5,000 imposed on individual entrepreneurs;
    • Fine from RUB 30,000 to RUB 50,000 imposed on legal entities.
  7. For repeating the same administrative offense, the following fines are imposed:
    • On company officers, a fine from RUB 10,000 to RUB 20,000 or disqualification for a period from 1 to 3 years;
    • On individual entrepreneurs, a fine from RUB 10,000 to RUB 20,000;
    • On legal entities, a fine from RUB 50,000 to RUB 70,000.