Jobs in Russia: A guide to finding work in Russia

Jobs in Russia, Jobs in Russia: A guide to finding work in RussiaUseful information and advice for expats looking for jobs in Moscow and other Russian cities, including jobs in Russia for English speakers.

Are you looking for jobs in Russia? This guide will give you tips on how to find jobs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, what the employment field is like, how to get Russian work permits and where to find jobs in Russia for English speakers.

Russia has diverse employment opportunities and expats are often the best-paid professionals. According to The HSBC Expat Economics Survey 2014, expats who work in Russia are ranked 13th in the list of highest gross income earners.

This guide to finding jobs in Russia for foreigners includes:

Chances of finding jobs in Moscow and St. Petersburg – What’s the employment market like?

Jobs in Moscow

Working in Moscow and St. Petersburg has been a viable choice for those who look to gain experience in the construction and energy sectors.

Moscow is the country’s acknowledged financial and economic center. Its labor force makes approximately a quarter of Russia’s total GDP. Furthermore, the capital has the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country.

Russia’s biggest companies have their headquarters here together with a multitude of international corporations that have entered the Russian market. Therefore, Moscow is an attractive city for many expatriates as multi-national companies often look for English speakers or foreign nationals with specialist skills. If you’re looking for jobs in Russia for English speakers, Moscow could be a good choice for you.

Moscow’s economy is driven by the service sector and employs a majority of people. There is a lot of work for bi-lingual expatriates in hotels, restaurants and other tourism associated jobs. As a center of politics and culture, Moscow is also a playground for experienced translators.

Significant segments of the people working in Moscow are in the manufacturing sector such as food processing, oil refining, and electronics.

The job market in St. Petersburg

Besides being a tourist Mecca and cultural center, St. Petersburg is full of opportunities for both temporary and long-term employment. According to the Federal Migration Service, St. Petersburg currently has more than 1.6 million foreigners living here. And by 2020, it is estimated that migrants will make up 2/5th of its workforce.

The labor market in St. Petersburg is smaller and less varied than Moscow and whilst prices for merchandise and services are almost identical, the average pay is about 2-3 times better in Moscow. The average income here for the resident is about $750 per month.

A contract of employment is always writing and made in two copies signed by both parties. The contracts should be both in Russian and English to be accepted by the Russian court.

Russian Labour Code states that there are three main types of employment contracts:

  1. Employment Contract with Free Text – most current contract with no exact term of validity, but it does contain the condition of termination.
  2. Employment Contract with Definite Time – the validity of the contract is up to five years and is only made when a temporary employee is offered a permanent contract.
  3. Employment Contract for Seasonal Work is valid for only two months.


For more information about work permits and visas for Russia, take a look at our comprehensive guide about how to get a work permit in Moscow.

Jobs in Russia, Jobs in Russia: A guide to finding work in Russia

Who can work in Russia?

All foreign nationals wanting to work in Russia (Moscow or St. Petersburg) must have a work permit. Federal Migration Service issues work permits which you need to acquire before applying for a work visa. Most foreigners require a full work visa to take a job in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but there are some exceptions:

  • Those who already have a permanent residence permit do not need a work permit
  • Those who are working on a temporary basis for a foreign country, or often traveling outside the country. A Business Visa enables an individual to work in Russia for up to 90 days.
  • Those employed in diplomatic missions, consular institutions and international organizations of foreign countries in Russia.
  • Media representatives accredited in the country.
  • Those who are invited to the country to teach in educational institutions.

The process of applying for a work permit is different for residents of CIS countries (visa-free) and all other nationalities.

Non-CIS residents can apply for two permits – a standard work permit that is available for any salary level and permits for “Highly Skilled Specialists.” The latter allows you to apply for the permit in your home country, takes less time and is valid for three years. However, to qualify, you need to have a minimum of 2 million R. annual salary. If working in an educational institution, the salary requirement is 1 million per year.

When applying for the Standard Work Permit so you can register for Russian jobs, the process is as follows:

  • The relevant government department sends permission to an employer to request the work permit. Afterward, the individual submits an application to the Federal Migration Service with the documents:
  • An application form completed in Russian. Can be printed or electronic
  • One color passport photo
  • Passport
  • A copy of the employment history, or an official document of an equal to the Russian Diploma of professional education
  • Medical certification that states the foreign worker is not a drug addict; does not have HIV or any other disease
  • Receipt of the application fee


After submitting all the documents, the permit is issued within 35 business days. Afterward, you can freely enter the country during the three months after the date of receiving the permit. The permit lasts for the duration of the job, although work visas should be updated every 12 months.

Candidates with specialist skills looking to work in Moscow and St. Petersburg can apply for Highly Skilled Specialists Work Permit at Russian embassy or consulate in your home country. The process usually takes up to 14 days.

Nationals from CIS countries have simplified the procedure to register for a work permit. Individuals can apply for the permit at Federal Migration Service.

You are required to submit the following documents:

  • An application form completed in Russian. This can be printed or electronic
  • A color passport photo
  • Passport
  • Receipt of application fee
  • The migration card or a stamp from customs control when you entered Russia
  • Medical certification that states the foreign worker is not a drug addict; does not have an HIV or any other disorder


The permit is issued within ten business days. For more information about work permits in Moscow and St.Petersburg, and how to get them, read this article.

Jobs in Russia, Jobs in Russia: A guide to finding work in Russia