Re-registration deadline looms for Russian branch and representative offices

Re-registration deadline: Representative and branch offices of foreign companies working in Russia are in a race against time to re-register with the authorities or run the risk of  losing their license to operate in the country. Legislation requiring overseas businesses to register their  Russian satellite offices was introduced last year in an attempt  to cut out some of the red tape that had been frustrating foreign firms, but it is now in serious danger of backfiring. Organizational failures and a lack of proper warning have left companies scrambling to react in time for the April 1 deadline, and, according to  Daniel Klein,  a partner at the Moscow-based Podolsky & Klein law firm, some of them will “inevitably slip through the cracks”. Those that do could see their businesses become illegal overnight and face the cancellation of foreign staff visas, which are sponsored by employers. To restart work they would have to start registration from scratch, a  process that can take months. Prioritet, specialists in the accreditation of foreign representative offices, began contacting  firms about the situation in in November and found that between 20% and 30%  did not know they would have to re-register. Even companies that only registered registering in December last year received no warning.