More Expats Needed in Russia

The demand for expats in Russia continues to increase, with the number of visas issues to foreign professionals rising by 40% in 2011 alone.

Newspapers in Russia report that labor market shortages and current recruitment trends are increasing the number of positions that are available to expats who wish to work in Russia.

Expats that do head to Russia may find it difficult to adapt to the culture and lifestyle in the region. The recent results of HSBC’s Expat Explorer survey indicate that Russia is among the four most difficult countries for expatriates to live in, along with Saudi Arabia, India and Qatar. However, expats that do move to Russia may benefit from increased benefits and payment packages. Speaking to The Moscow News, Gleb Lebedev, research director of Russian recruitment firm HeadHunter commented: “European mid-level managers and other professionals coming to Russia get 20 to 30 percent higher salaries than Russian citizens. There is a simple reason for that: it’s difficult to adjust to the new environment, so they need more money and support. In Russia their income is 50 percent higher than what they could get back home.”

Statistics from the Russian Labor Ministry indicate that the expats attracted to region herald from Europe (predominantly IT and oil and gas), Africa (metals) and Asia (IT). Expats that offer strong qualifications and work experience will benefit from benefits that include accommodation, transportation, health insurance and regular flights home. This, coupled with a low income tax of 13 percent, entails that more and more expats are being lured to this area of the world.

However, while the number of positions available to skilled professional workers may be on the rise, the demand for unskilled labor is currently falling, with the numbers of positions in this field expecting to fall by 50,000 over the next year. One of the reasons for this has been linked to the lack of migrant worker’s language skills and a new law that tests migrants’ Russian language skills will be implemented in January 2013. Only workers that currently have low-skilled jobs will be required to complete the tests, which will form an important element of the federal migration plan for 2012-25. The underlying principles of the plan are to control immigration and attract more professionals to the region.