View Full Version : Hello Expats - meet Almatinka!

09-03-2009, 02:25
Hey everybody!

I've just joined this forum, but I have been checking it out before. My name is Anastasia, I'm an ethnic Russian/Ukrainian, who is a citizen of Kazakhstan, and who has been living in the US and Canada in the past 11 years - so my background is a bit complicated, eh :)?

I am currently contemplating to move to Moscow and work there. I've been there last December for a visit and felt that it was MY city -- you, know you get this feeling sometime, and if it stays with you, you want to do something about it. Yes, the city is big and dirty, and bureaucracy is horrible, but nevertheless... it's Russian... I guess I missed that in the US...

Anyway, I am looking for a job first, of course - which will be the main catalyst in my move to the city. I am not a foreginer per se --- I can enter Russia without a visa, BUT I do need a work permit and then a residence registration, and I know it can be a pain.

My question to the forum members is as follows:
Should I simply move to Moscow first, get a work permit myself and then start to actively look for a job while in Moscow?; or
Should I get a job offer (which should include work permit sponsorship) while I'm still in the US?

I know what most of you may say - 'Well, duh --- get a job offer first! What idiot would go to the unknown place without any concrete prospects?' That is very much true, but sometimes I feel that I should risk it.... As we Russians say - 'Whoever doesn't risk, doesn't drink champagne' ;).

In any case, any advice about looking for a job in Moscow via Internet (besides this wonderful website) for a gal who is fluent in both English and Russian, who has a graduate degree and 6 years of professional experience in immigration law, nonprofit, PR and mass communications will be greatly appreciated! Oh, and also - what salary range should be enough for a modest bu fun life in Moscow - which will cover rent, food, metro tickets, beer and weekend activities?

Спасибо огромное!


09-03-2009, 03:29
Hello Nastya and welcome to the Expat.ru Forum!

I think it is better to get an offer IF you can and if you can also be relatively certain that it is an organization and a position that will truly be a good fit for you. However that is not so easy to do from North America.

Why should somebody hire you here when they cannot even meet you face to face? I know that it happens but it is a disadvantage. Furthermore, you may accept a job without meeting the organizational leadership here~~~then get here and not like it. Then you may feel that you have to stick with them as they are your 'sponsor' and you need them for your visa. Even that scenario can be managed~~~and maybe that is best for you~~~but I prefer to move first~~then find the job. Yes~~~I am one of the 'idiots'~~~he he he!!

IMHO, if you are determined to move here, then do it. With your background, you can figure out the visa maze. Find the place you want to live~~~go there and make it work. Others will get the job they want and then go wherever that takes them. Different strokes I guess. That is just one humble opinion though.
Besides the Expat.ru Employment section, I recommend the Career Center:

The Moscow Times Career Center - Jobs in Russia (http://www.careercenter.ru/)

By the way, do you have friends of family in Moscow? That is a very big part of making life work here.

I wish you well with your plans and preparations!

All the best!
Mud :D

10-03-2009, 01:19
Hey Anastasia and welcome to forum :sunny:

Mud's advice is good, especially about an employer wanting to see you first before hiring you and you checking out the company too before blindly accepting. Much easier to get the job in the desired country I think. My opinion. Just come and try as it sounds like you love MOW. I told a friend I loved it too and they said I had tourist syndrome and perhaps wouldn't like it longterm if I lived/worked there. But I really find the expat life interesting. I must have it or I fall asleep. Do you think you'll feel like an expat or a local in Russia? Or maybe it changes over time? One thing you must do is to try it, otherwise you'll never know and will always be curious as to how it would have been and if it was the right choice.

Sounds like you'll be drinking the Krim champagne soon Anastasia :10518:

10-03-2009, 03:22
Wow - Pete, that's so encouraging! Sounds like you guys are really egging me onto moving so I could hang around with you and give you tips on Russian language and culture ;)!

You know, it is an interesting question - would I feel like a Russian there or like an expat? I think both... I'm not exactly Russian per se because I haven't been immersed in this lifestyle for a while, but at the same time, because I know the language and at least know what to expect from the authorities, I can pass for a local ;).

Interesting example: when I was in Moscow last time, I was very chirpy on the metro train while all moscovites were like baked clams - tired, drained, listening to their Ipods, counting stations to their apartments...On one hand, I could see the same picture on the New York subway/Philadelphia regional rail. On another hand, I kinda became one of those riders after one week of being there - because I'm easy to adapt and because I'm realistic that if I keep smiling all the time, I can get in trouble sooner or later....plus the metro rhythm is so lulling ;)....

All right --- in any case I can't simply take off and arrive in Sheremetyevo next week --- moving (job or no job offer) will take some time... I may actually just come for a couple of weeks in the summer (there is a marathon I want to run in Izmaylovkiy Park on July 4th - should be fun!!), plus I will meet you and other exapts, and chat about life in the "pervopristol'naya", and get more inspiration, so by the end of the year (or maybe even earlier!) I will be one of you!

10-03-2009, 17:17
Hi Almatinka!
Your case is very much similar to mine in terms of feeling yourself like both expat and local at the same time )). I'm not russian actually, but the citizen of another ex-soviet republic Azerbaijan). So, of course russian language and culture is very close to me and I had no major problems with adoption here. On the other hand I've never experienced your dilemma (first moving and then looking for job or vice versa) as I was lucky to find a job and accept an offer while being on my business trip to Moscow with my previous job.

Coming to your case, I'd advise you to do something like combination of 2 options mentioned here:

1. First, get registered at all recruitment sites. By now I've used only hh.ru, but there are plenty. Try to use as many as possible.
2. Post your latest CV there both in Russian and English. Don't forget to set it to be freely accessed by readers.
3. Once you start getting feedbacks and invitations to interview, arrange a week or 2 to travel here for holidays. That could be a good chance to meet with potential employers in Moscow.
4. Use your stay here to file application for obtaining work permit. It could be pretty simple if you use the services of private firms who consult and help in that area. In fact, what they really do is just taking a consulting fee (about 300$-400$) from you, handing over a bribe to officials, get your permit and deliver it to you. However this process takes at least 10 working days. Account for 3 weeks to be on safe side (if you're going to file an application closer to year-end then it could take much more as the quotas are usually used in full by that time).
5. The last thing you could do, is just to hope that during that short period of your stay here, you'll be offerred something acceptable and make a deal.

Considering your solid record above plan wouldn't look like something unbelievable unless this bloody crisis affected the market. From my personal experience: back in August 08, during the first 2 weeks after I posted my CV on hh.ru I was receiving about 2 calls a day in average with invitations to interview. Most of them were coming from recruitement agencies but anyways I got an acceptable offer in 2 weeks.

Now, market is almost dead. Companies are looking for employee only any of any critical position suddenly becomes vacant. There is increasing number of unemployment among local people, therefore expats are often not considered at all.

Anyway! Good luck to you, wish you'll find here at forum good opportunities to arrange your move.

10-03-2009, 18:21
Hello, Anastasia !!! :)
Welcome and good luck !:ok:

10-03-2009, 19:05
Almatinka/Nastia welcome to the site!

Best of luck in finding a way back to Moscow. Completely agree with PJW here. Just try it. It's a crisis anyway, who has certainty these days?

10-03-2009, 19:25
Spasibo, rebyata!

Krizis-mizis is everywhere (even in the US) --- and I think it's better surivived among people who know and love you...(e.g. friends and family).

I am now inspired to actively make my goal/dream a REALITY!


12-03-2009, 07:35
welcome and good luck!!

13-03-2009, 16:32
Ok guys -- I'm "blaming" Mud and PJW for making me do this :verycool: - it looks like I am going to travel to Moscow in mid-April --- for "razvedka" (a lookout). It seems that it is easier to look for a job when employers can see you face-to-face (plus the tickets are AMAZINGLY cheap -- it's a sin NOT to go!!!!!)... So.... I'm planning to come here for 2 weeks (maybe more -- depending if my current employer will let me go - ha ha).

So I'll see y'all at one of the expat events :cheerleader:!!!!!!



14-03-2009, 00:36
Ok guys -- I'm "blaming" Mud and PJW for making me do this :verycool: - it looks like I am going to travel to Moscow in mid-April --- for "razvedka" (a lookout). It seems that it is easier to look for a job when employers can see you face-to-face (plus the tickets are AMAZINGLY cheap -- it's a sin NOT to go!!!!!)... So.... I'm planning to come here for 2 weeks (maybe more -- depending if my current employer will let me go - ha ha).

So I'll see y'all at one of the expat events :cheerleader:!!!!!!


Well pjw is in Germany so if you do 'blame' him~~~I guess he is out of harm's way!

As for me~~~why listen to me? Nobody else does~~~!!

You already knew what you wanted. I think you just needed a nudge or two is all!

Have fun planning your trip. Be sure to let us know what's up.

Mud :D

16-03-2009, 22:09
Hey Anastasia :agree:

Please let us know what's going on, when you're in Moscow etc. Yes well spotted by Mud, I think you wanted to come too already when you first posted but just wanted to put your thoughts down and feel the waters. Still looking forward to coming over? Everything's waiting for you :sunny: Lots of people here on forum for you to meet :mml::hooray::mml:

20-03-2009, 08:21
HI !

My problems are almost the same excep that i am deputed in moscow by an MNC so i do not have to find the job. But i have few more question regarding how i will cope up with new language , people and palce.

WIsh you all the best
Ketan Bhut