Russia Re-Opens to Foreigners with Work Visas

Foreign nationals may now enter Russia for work purposes as long as their employer obtains permission ahead of time, according to a decree published by the Russian government Friday.

The decree, which went into effect on Feb. 16, follows a nearly yearlong suspension on most foreign arrivals to Russia prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, Russia had only allowed entry to foreigners holding “highly-qualified specialist” visas and their family members, as well as citizens of countries that made reciprocal flight agreements with Russia and foreign students arriving from those countries.

Under the latest decree, any foreigner with a Russian work permit or a teacher’s permit wishing to enter the country can ask their employer to file a request with the relevant ministry, said Timur Beslangurov, a lawyer from the Moscow-based Vista Immigration agency.

“Every company in its charter has a code for its activity that falls under the authority of a certain ministry — for example, if you work in wholesale, your employer would apply through the Industry and Trade Ministry,” Beslangurov told The Moscow Times.

If the ministry approves the employer’s request, the foreigner’s documents are automatically forwarded to the federal border service and they are added to the “approved entry” list, he said.

All individuals arriving to Russia are required to present English or Russian-language proof that they have tested negative for the coronavirus less than 72 hours before arriving.

Russian Flights to Egypt’s Sinai to Resume Five Years After Deadly Jet Attack

Russia will resume flights to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts in March after the lifting of a ban imposed following a 2015 attack on a Russian jet, an aviation official said.

Flights “to the two cities of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada will resume on March 28 via the Russian company Nordwind at a rate of four per week,” said Ashraf Noweir, Egypt’s civil aviation chief, quoted by pro-government daily Al-Ahram.

He said Russian authorities have approved the resumption of flights to the cities in the Sinai Peninsula.

Moscow banned direct flights to Egypt after a bomb attack in October 2015 on a Russian-owned Airbus jet as it took off from the seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh that killed 224 people.

In April 2018, Moscow announced the resumption of flights to Cairo but not to the Red Sea coast, a popular destination for Russian tourists.

The United Kingdom, which had also suspended air links with the peninsula in 2015, relaunched flights to Sharm el-Sheikh at the end of 2019.

Claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, the 2015 attack dealt a severe blow to Egypt’s vital tourism industry as the country’s economy was already crippled by years of instability following the 2011 uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

While the sector recorded a rebound of nearly $13 billion in revenue for 2018-2019, tourism in Egypt was hit hard again by the coronavirus pandemic, with official figures showing a drop of more than 20% in revenues for 2019-2020.

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