“US Invest” LLC lawyer - Iryna Yakavina
On July 01, 2020, amendments to the migration law governing the legal status of foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Republic of Belarus will come into force. These changes were introduced by the Law No. 267-З of December 16, 2019 (hereinafter - the Law No. 267-З).
In the article, we consider the main changes that foreign citizens should know.
Until 01.07.2020: foreigners arriving in Belarus are obliged within five days with the exception of Sundays, public holidays and holidays, to register with the registration authority at the place of actual temporary stay.
After 01.07.2020: foreigners arriving in Belarus are required to register with the registration authority at the place of actual temporary stay within ten days.
Example (after Law No. 267-3 entered into force): a foreign citizen enters Belarus on Friday (04.07.2020) at 11.50 pm. The registration period is 10 days, so the deadline for registration is 13.07.2020 (Monday). Given that Sunday and Monday are weekend days at OGIM, the last day for registration is July 11, 2020 (Saturday).
Until 01.07.2020: when changing the place of temporary stay/residence, foreigners are required to register (make changes to the PRP) with the registration authority for the new place of temporary stay/residence within five days, except for Sundays, public holidays.
After 01.07.2020: when changing the place of temporary stay/residence, foreigners are required to register (make changes to the PRP) with the registration authority for the new place of temporary stay/residence within three working days.
The list of purposes for obtaining a temporary residence permit for foreigners arriving in the country for training has been changed. This change will increase the ability of educational institutions to attract foreigners to study in Belarus.
Until 01.07.2020: a temporary residence permit is issued, including to foreigners, if they arrived to receive or is receiving in the territory of the Republic of Belarus:
- vocational education,
- secondary special education,
- high education,
- postgraduate education,
- additional adult education in the development of the content of educational programs of improvement of professional skill of executives and experts of the educational program of advanced training of workers (employees), educational programs of retraining of executives and specialists with higher education, educational programs of retraining of executives and specialists with secondary special education, educational programs of retraining of workers (employees).
After 01.07.2020: the list of educational programs has been updated:
- educational program for professional training of workers (employees), educational program for training of managers and specialists, the educational program for preparing individuals for admission to educational institutions of the Republic of Belarus or educational program of training courses (lectures, thematic seminars, workshops, trainings, officer courses and other types of training courses) aimed at learning Russian and (or) Belarusian.
The most common reason for refusing to issue a visa or enter Belarus is the presence of an unfulfilled obligation to pay a fine. The amount of the fine does not matter. In practice, foreign citizens may not always even be aware of the presence of a fine, for example, in the case of traffic violations recorded by photo and video recording.
Until 01.07.2020: a foreigner may be refused a visa to enter Belarus or to enter Belarus if the foreigner did not pay fine on time.
After 01.07.2020: a foreigner is allowed to enter Belarus once, provided that:
- submission by a foreigner of documents confirming the execution of a fine, or
- receiving an obligation from a foreigner to comply with the decision as soon as possible, with the delivery of a written notification of the need to execute an administrative penalty in the form of a fine during their stay on the territory of Belarus.
Until 01.07.2020: the legislation does not contain a mechanism determining the procedure for obtaining such information. Information can be obtained on the basis of general procedures by contacting the Department of Citizenship and Migration with a request.
After 01.07.2020: information about foreigners included in the List of persons whose entry into the Republic of Belarus is prohibited or undesirable is provided, including to their representatives free of charge upon their request, on the official website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the Internet with regard to information on the grounds for including them in the List of persons whose entry into the Republic of Belarus is prohibited or undesirable (with certain exceptions) and the timing of the ban on their entry into Belarus.
A residence permit can be obtained if foreigners:
- have lived in the Republic of Belarus continuously for 7 years after receiving a temporary residence permit;
- are foreign investors who have invested at least 150 thousand euros in investment activities on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
- have lived in the Republic of Belarus continuously for 5 years after receiving a temporary residence permit, and for highly qualified employees – continuously for the last 3 years.
- are foreign investors who have invested at least 15 thousand basic units (about 170 thousand euros on 08.01.2020) in investment activities on the territory of the Republic of Belarus in ways not prohibited by legislative acts of the Republic of Belarus.
The period of residence in the Republic of Belarus is considered continuous if the foreigner stayed legally and did not leave Belarus or if the foreigner left the country legally for a period of not more than 90 days in a calendar year.
Until 01.07.2020: the Law “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons” does not have a clear definition, it is necessary to be guided by the norms of Art. 48 of this Law.
Family members include: spouse, disabled parents and (or) adoptive parents, as well as children, including adopted children under the age of eighteen, wards.
Family members include:
- children, including adopted children, under the age of eighteen, with the exception of those who have acquired full legal capacity in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus;
- children, including adopted children, over eighteen years of age, who are disabled *, unmarried, dependent on a foreigner;
- disabled parents and adoptive parents ** who are dependent on a foreigner.
* Disabled children are understood as:
- invalids of I or II group;
- students who receive general secondary, special education, as well as for the first time in full-time education, vocational, secondary specialized, and higher education.
** Disabled parents and adoptive parents (adopters) are understood as:
- disabled people of I or II group, regardless of age;
- persons who have reached the generally established retirement age.
Thus, foreign citizens need to take into account changes in migration legislation after 01.07.2020. It should be noted that the changes are aimed at regulating relations in accordance with the practice of the migration authorities, simplifying the procedure for staying and living in Belarus for foreigners.