NOTE - This applies to those in Russia, if your company is sending you over, they should handle all this for you.
I decided to write this because quite often, people don't know what they need to do for their work permits, even when their employer has an HR department, so here is the basic outline.
1) Get a list of the documents you need from your HR department.
Before you can get your invitation that you will subsequently turn into the all-precious work permit, you'll need to submit documents to HR - here's the stuff you'll need:
*) 2 colour, mat photos - 2*4
*) Full medical check (leprosy and all - seriously)
*) Translated and notorised main page of passport
*) Translated and notorised copy of education cert, with apostle
All this is straight forward, apart from the education cert bit, but I'll go into that in just a minute.
First things, get the pictures and the medical checks out of the way.
These days, the RF government only recognizes certain clinics to provide the med spravka (if you don't know what a spravka is, check out this post).The chosen clinics can change each year, so check with your HR department.
As of 2013, a clinic I know for sure that is on the official is list in Moscow is the one I went to on Semenovskaya. Here's their website with address info.
You go there, show them your passport and tell them you need a spravka for трудоустройства, you fill out a form and they give you a piece of paper telling you which rooms you need to go to.
Here's what the typical form looks like:
Most of the checks consist of a few questions and you having to show them that you don't have leprosy. You have to go to the rooms, give the doc your checklist, they ask you like one or two questions and then stamp your paper.
As for flurography, for this, you go to the resident rape van/cabin and they do a quick chest scan. This time, the equipment was in a converted truck.
Finally, you'll get your blood taken for an HIV check.
Total cost was 1900 roubles and the spravka is ready in one to two weeks. At this place, you can only pay in cash, upfront.
This is something which has caused a lot of hassle and confusion since it was introduced a few years back, but have no fear, it's not so tough.
A common question asked is: can I get a work permit if I don't have a university degree? The good news is yes. I myself don't have one.
Instead, you need to provide a document of education, I use a cert from college (college in the UK is not the same as in the US), other expats I know use their high school diplomas, so take your pick. If you do have a degree, all the better - Russians love degrees and diplomas.
What you'll need to do is have the degree or document apostlised and notorised in your home country. I chose to have a copy of my cert apostlised and then notorised with the notary basically confirming that the copy was of a real document etc.
I did this because I didn't want my original getting lost forever in Russia!
Once you have the appostle and notary stamp from your home country, you can then get the document and apostle translated and notorised here, in Russia.
This time, the translation of all that, plus my passport came to 3500 roubles, so it's not exactly cheap and you have to do this every year!
Now you take your little pack of documents to your HR people at work and wait to them to either extend your old visa, or if you are doing it for the first time, produce your invitation.
Once you have the invitation, you go through the standard visa process - fill out the relevant forms, choose your processing time and submit your passport in hope of getting the precious work visa.
Once you get your passport and new visa back, you'll head to Russia, sign your contract, give in your passport and registration to HR. Initially your work visa will be valid for three months, but after your glorious return and signing of your contract, your HR will send off your passport to the FMS so they can extend the visa to the length of your contract.
Once done, feel free to relax and revel in another year of official work in Russia!
For some professions, the procedure might be a bit different. For example, a friend of mine who works at Interfax simply gets her press accreditation renewed each year and doesn't go through all the same stuff I did.