Are you looking for a job in Russia and wondering how difficult it will be to find one? The answer might surprise you. In fact, due to many factors, Russia is one of the easiest countries in the world to find a job as an expat. In 2020, US News & World Report ranked Russia the number one country in the world to start a career. 

If you need encouragement to start your job search in Russia you have come to the right place, here are 3 great reasons why it isn’t that hard to find a job in Russia. 

Demand for Native English Speakers

If you have ever been to Russia, you know that English, especially outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, is not widely spoken. If you are looking for a job in Russia and you are a native English speaker, this works to your advantage. As business around the world continues to evolve, one thing is for certain (at least for now), English is the dominant language of global business. The Russian market is no exception. 

Even the best jobs for Russian citizens require advanced knowledge of English. Russian lawyers and business consultants typically speak English quite well, but they will never write at the level of a native English speaker. This is an opportunity for anyone who knows a bit about international business. Look for a job as an English editor in Moscow, for example. 

The most popular job in Russia for expats is by far an English teacher. The demand is so high and the supply so low that if you have a college degree, you can usually find something that pays decently well without any experience. Check out our guide to working as an English teacher in Russia for more information. 

We have even created the Expatriant job board specifically for expats in Russia. It is the only expat focused job board currently in Russia. For more exhaustive tips on finding a job in Russia, check out our Ultimate Guide to Expat Jobs in Russia

Easy Work Permit and Work Visa Regulations

Few people know this, but Russia has one of the easiest set of laws regarding work permits and work visas. This is partly due to the drastic devaluation of the ruble after 2014, but it remains the case today. 

As in just about any country, to get a job in Russia, you must have an invitation from your potential employer. Your employer must also prove that they can’t find any suitable candidate locally for the job. These two obstacles are what usually stop people from searching for a job in Russia. Don’t let this stop you.

First, don’t worry about the invitation, this is very easy for a Russian employer to provide. Once they have decided to offer you a job, it is simply a formality. 

Russia has two different types of work permits and which one you receive depends on your salary. In Russia, if you are paid more than 2 million rubles ($26,000) per year, you will be granted a highly qualified specialist visa. A highly qualified specialist visa is different from a regular Russian work visa in a few key ways. 

  • Your employer does not need to prove that they cannot find a local candidate for the job.
  • Your employer does not need to apply for a quota position to hire a foreign worker.
  • The process to apply for the visa and work permit is expedited from 4-6 months to only 3-4 weeks. 
  • The cost to issue a highly qualified specialist visa is much lower than a regular work visa.
  • You pay a 13% income tax from day one versus 30% on a regular work visa. 
  • Your employer is exempt from paying all of the Russian social taxes, which are around 30% in addition to your salary.

You may even be surprised to know that it is 30% cheaper to higher a foreigner in Russia than a local Russian candidate when salaries are over 2 million rubles per year due to the exemption of social tax payment. Unfortunately, most employers do not know about this, but it is unlikely that this will make much impact on whether to hire you. 

As long as you can command a salary of more than $26,000 per year, you will have no trouble at all finding a job in Russia. We would recommend that you learn Russian though if you want to maximize your income potential in Russia. Check out our guide to learning Russian in Moscow

Low Level of Competition 

Unfortunately for Russia, but fortunately for you, Russia is not a top destination for expats in the world as of 2020. If you have any unique or niche skills, you will find that there is little competition in the Russian job market. This is changing though as more and more Russians study abroad and return to Russia to work. 

The best opportunities in Russia are for entry-level expats and senior managers. Russians who study abroad are still Russians at heart and likely do not have any work experience when they return from study abroad. American and European recent graduates have a different mentality and approach than young Russians. You should focus on your unique approach to solving problems when applying for jobs and networking. Entry-level expats are usually also willing to take a lower salary making them more competitive with local Russian candidates. 

Middle managers usually lack the local knowledge needed to effectively function in a Russian work environment. It doesn’t make much sense to hire an expat for these roles because you will be interacting 100% in Russian during your day to day job. That isn’t to say it is impossible to get a job in Russia if you are an experienced candidate, it will just be more difficult and you will have to compromise significantly on salary. 

Senior managers on the other hand are not as sought after as they were before 2014 when the ruble crashed and it became much more expensive to hire them. That said, there are still opportunities for senior managers with unique skill sets in Russia. You may have to compromise on salary a bit, but the cost of living difference (even in Moscow) is massive when compared to major US, or Western European cities. 

If you have niche professional experience, you should start your job search in Russia with some of the top recruiting companies. We recommend the following firms to start your search:

Antal Russia
Hays Russia
Staffwell
Ancor
Manpower
Awara Search
Work Service
Morgan Hunt

Conclusion

Hopefully, we have convinced you that it is not hard to get a job in Russia. The only real barrier is that usually, you must be physically in Russia to find a job. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise as companies like to know you are committed to living in Russia. Living in Russia isn’t for everyone. If you are committed to working in Russia, with a little perseverance and the right resources, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a job in Russia!

Once you are in Russia, check out our guides to living and working in Russia.

If you have any questions, comment below, we will answer them.

I lived in Russia for 5 years. Over those 5 years, I started a few companies, worked as an English teacher, worked at a large Russian tech company, and worked at an international law firm. I want to share my experience living and working abroad so you can do the same!

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