Work in Russia: Finding jobs in Russia
Find jobs in Russia with this guide on the current job market, job vacancies Russian work visas, and where to look to find a job in Russia.
When looking at employment in Russia, you'll find that foreigners in Russia work mainly for international companies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Russian companies – especially in the energy, construction and finance sectors – diplomatic missions and English-language schools. The salaries in Russia can be high: the HSBC Expat Economic Survey 2014 found that expats in Russia ranked 13th in the world in terms of highest gross income.
Generally, foreigners who want to live and work in Russia must first find a job, after which the employer will organise a Russian work permit. The situation regarding work and immigration in Russia can be changeable, so it's important to check for updates.
There are strict work visa quotas for most foreign nationals and these vary according to specific occupations, nationalities and regions of Russia. You will have a much better chance of getting a job in Russia if you are highly qualified, are a specialist, high level executive or manager, and if you speak Russian.
This guide outlines what you need to get started on your job search in Russia: information and advice on what jobs are available in Russia, and where to look to find them.
Work in Russia
The job market and available jobs in Russia
It is illegal for a foreigner to work in a job that could be undertaken by a Russian citizen, so expat jobs tend to be highly skilled and at senior management level. The major industries include oil, gas, metals (especially steel) and timber. Other large industries include defence, manufacturing, electronics, mobile technology, banking and the service sector. There are job shortages in construction, transport, IT, engineering and teaching.
Expats can also find jobs in Russian offices of international companies. These are usually senior positions and often require Russian-related experience and Russian language skills.
Currently, many expats work in foreign and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) but a new law came into force in May 2015 allowing the government to shut down ‘undesirable’ groups. This puts the future of some 60 organisations at risk. Bear this in mind if this is your field of interest.
Other opportunities for expats working in Russia include teaching English and working as a nanny or au pair.
Russian work environment and culture
The average working week may not exceed 40 hours, although up to 120 hours of overtime a year is permitted but no more than four hours in any two consecutive days. There are usually 28 paid public holidays a year; see Expatica's guide to Russia's public holidays.
Russian business culture combines the old Soviet bureaucracy and ways of thinking with the more modern western ways. Be prepared for red tape and formal language in the workplace. Meetings have a formal atmosphere and can seem quite protracted compared to those held in the UK or US. For more information, see Expatica's guide to business culture in Moscow.
Russian work visas and permits
Almost all foreigners need a visa, an official invitation from an employer and a work permit to work in Russia. Those who do not need a work permit include legal residents (who have the same right as Russian residents), students and teachers invited by academic institutions, accredited journalists, diplomats and those working with humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross. Those applying for a Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS) work permit – those deemed to have experience, skills or achievement that would enable an annual income of more than 2 million roubles – do not need an official invitation from a sponsor.
To receive a standard work permit, the Russian employer must have an authorised employment permit allowing them to employ a foreigner. They might already have this or they can apply for the authorisation when they apply for the employee's work permit. Once you have signed the work contract, the employer can apply for a work permit on your behalf. You will need to submit documents, such as translated and certified educational or professional certificates. Once the application is successful, the employer will receive a visa invitation letter; you will need it when you apply for your entry visa at the Russian embassy or consulate in your home country. As from 2014 you will also need to supply biometric date (scanned fingerprints) to get a visa. Once you have the visa, you can travel to Russia and on your arrival have a medical examination and collect your work permit from your employer.
As from January 2015, most Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nationals need a work patent instead of a work permit, to be applied for after entering Russia. Nationals from Kyrgyz, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan do not need either a work patent or a work permit to work in Russia.
New rules regarding the testing of all work permit applicants (with the exception of QHS permit applicants) on Russian language, history and legal basic knowledge will be introduced in the future but the details are not yet known.
For more information on visas and permits, see Expatica's articles on how to get a work permit in Moscow, simplified work permit procedures for foreigners, Russian migration policy, and Russian visas and registration.
You’ll need to have a good knowledge of Russian, especially if you want to work outside Moscow. Outside of international companies and organisations most people speak only Russian.
You may need to have your educational and professional certifications translated into Russian by official translators, plus recognised and validated in a process called nostrification by the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science.
Finding jobs in Russia
Check out jobs in Russia on Expatica's job page.
Russian job websites
These job websites are in English:
These job websites are in Russian:
- Bankir.ru – financial jobs
- Penny Lane Personnel
There are several private recruitment agencies in Russia, for example the Russian Connection, where you can browse jobs on databases and upload your CV so they can match your skills to new vacancies. Most recruitment agencies will want your details in Russian although some will accept applications in English. You can find out more about private recruitment agencies in Russia (in Russian) through the Russian federation of the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT).
Look at the online jobs pages of The Moscow Times.
Look at the websites of Russian and international companies for up-to-date job listings. You may be able to apply online but many still want a CV and cover letter. International companies usually accept applications in English; Russian companies usually require applications in Russian. Here’s a list of Russia’s largest companies (Forbes Global 2000, 2105 rankings).
Teaching English – and other language-related work – in Russia
There’s a high demand in Russia for English teachers with TEFL qualifications, mostly in schools in Russia’s main cities and large towns but also within Russian businesses. As many of these jobs are part-time and not very well paid, some people work at several different places at the same time. You may also be able to get a language teaching job in Russia if your first language is French, German, Spanish or Italian. These language teaching companies are worth a look: BKC English, EnglishFIrst and Language Link Russia. Some language companies will handle your work visas and help you find accommodation as well.
There are also opportunities for translation and/or editing work in Russia. See Language Interface for this type of work. Many international companies have in-house editors, translators and language teachers; look on their websites and apply directly.
Embassies and consulates
Check out the websites of embassies or consulates in Russia to see what job opportunities are available – you don’t necessarily have to be a national of a particular embassy/consulate to work for it. Depending on the diplomatic mission and type of work (some jobs may have security restrictions), jobs may be open to nationals, the spouses or partners of nationals, or to those of any nationality who have residency or the legal right to work in Russia.
Working as a nanny or au pair in Russia
Many wealthy Russian families, especially in Moscow, like to employ English-speaking nannies, governesses, governors, tutors and au pairs to look after their young children. Here are some sites dedicated to matching nannies and au pairs with VIP families in Russia: Bonne International and Gouverneur.
Make use of all your contacts – both business and social – as networking is important when looking for a job in Russia. The largest Russian social networking sites are VKontakte (Vk), Odnoklassniki (OK) and Moi Mir. Find a Meet-up group in Russia or start your own. Russian LinkedIn has a Russian jobs page.
Applying for a job in Russia
Although some international companies will accept online applications, most Russia companies will require you to send a CV and covering letter. In Russia, the covering letter is very important. It should ideally be written in Russian, be formal and factual and refer to both present and future plans, and include information about your language skills.
Some other tips include:
- Keep your CV short and to the point – no longer than two pages of A4 size – and avoid using jargon.
- You may be asked to supply a photograph of yourself.
- If you are asked to go for an interview, take along copies of certificates.
- Try to show an understanding of Russian culture and language.
For more information
- Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science – for recognition of foreign degrees and qualifications.
- Federal Migration Service – information about work permits and visas.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Find a job in Russia using Expatica's job search.
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