Working in Russia: Tips for International Students

One of the main concerns for an international student before coming to Russia is: Can I get a job in Russia? 

Working in Russia: Tips for International Students

Photo by Jason Goodman on Usplash

Do I need to be fluent in Russian to get a job? Do they allow me to do some part time jobs? As most of the students love to earn some extra money, this is their first concern before coming here! Let’s get into more pros and cons on how international students get jobs in Russia. Here I will explain my experience and also share how one of my friends got succeeded. And at the end of this article, you will get some super hacks on how to prepare yourself to get a job.

Good news is international students can work in Russia on a student VISA and if you work during the holidays and work in their university, they don’t need a work permit. In such cases a student gets all the news regarding an internal job circular from the HSE Career center. As I am a student of HSE Saint Petersburg campus I got a lot of help from the Career center St. Petersburg. Here you can find vacancies from HSE partners organization, you will know how to apply for a job or internship, how to design your CV from HSE partners organization. From here  you can book a consultation with an expert who will review your CV and give you an insight into the Russian job market for international students. They are really so helpful as long as you are seeking help, they are always one step ahead to help you. They serve as a conduit between employers and students. You also find recent circular at Job teaser.

If you get a job outside of university as a full-time employee, you need to apply to the Federal migration service (FMS) for a work permit. You need to provide the following documents for work permit application:

  • Passport
  • Notarized copy of passport
  • Migration card, registration
  • Copy of migration card, copy of registration.
  • Certificate from the academic part (I am a student)
  • Employment contract (unsigned)
  • 500 – 3500 rubles
  • Health certificate (General)
  • Certificate of absence of dangerous diseases (HIV, etc.)
  • Digital photo

For more details you may visit Career Centre (St. Petersburg) and find a full list of required documents and process for a foreign student to get a work permit.

Apart from HSE career portal, you can also get thousands of vacancies at the most popular Russian Job portal If you have a profile here, you will get thousands of vacancies here. However, if your profile does not match with the applied position the rate of getting an invitation is really low. Apart from this website foreign students can also find jobs in some other Russian popular job portals like,, etc.

Before coming to Russia one more burning question for me was if I didn’t speak Russian, could I get any part time job there. The answer is yes, but for this, you need very good networking skills. Especially your Russian friends who can be able to help you a lot. In some renowned super shop  chains, they need a lot of workers on a daily basis for their packaging and scanning. They have their own vendors who supply the required manpower every day to those companies. You can find them easily if you ask your local friends. You need to tell them you are willing to work on a daily basis then they will register you and add you in their group. The day you are willing to work you need to inform them a day before your work. If they need it, they will call you for work. It’s really very convenient at the very beginning for a student. You can choose your schedule and day as your own. Their payment is also good enough for a student. A lot of daily basis work is also available at jobs. Other than this I saw some of my friends are working as Model and DJ for this it will take some time until you establish your name.

Are you a little puzzled about the process? Okay, let's hear form one of my friends Abdul Zaher, a 2nd year master’s student from Afghanistan. He has been working as a teacher here from the very beginning of his arrival in Russia. I will try to find out how he got the job and what his suggestions are for new students to get a job.

Abdul, please, share with us what you are doing besides studying.

Besides studying, I am working as a teacher. I am teaching remotely on an online platform. I am working for a company named Skyeng. I need to teach at least 15 hours in a week. My company finds students for me. As a non-Russian I found it’s more convenient for me. I am also teaching a student privately. Every week I teach him three days. I managed this from my own network. I am happy with my workload and study. And the earning is also quite enough for a student to lead a good life.

How did you get the job?

As I said earlier, I found my private student using my network and found my Skyeng job from an online job portal named

Can you tell us details how you got the job and what were the interview steps that you have faced?

Of course. At the beginning, I created a profile at If anyone enters this website, they can easily understand how to create a profile. I would suggest everyone to put authentic experience and skills that you have. Don’t exaggerate your profile with a lot of experience and skills that you don’t have. Make it simple and authentic. Then keep applying for those vacancies that match with your skill set. As I was experienced in teaching English, one day, I got an invitation for a short video interview. After that they invited me for a direct interview with their expert. It's also online. It was not so hard, but you need to show eagerness that you want to work for the company and add value to their course.

Apart from this platform, do you know any other platform where students can search for a job?

Actually, there are lots of platforms to get a job. I also have a profile in (specially for teachers) and (for different kinds of specialists). In these websites people give their advertisements based on their requirements. If you find any match with your skill set you can directly communicate with the advertiser. For this you need to pay a less amount as a subscription fee. But it really works.

What was most challenging for you to manage the job at the beginning?

As I can’t speak Russian so at the beginning it was quite tough for me to communicate with the recruiters. Meanwhile, I found that for teaching English, knowing Russian is not the main requirement. It depends on whom you are teaching and the employer. The best thing is that there are lots of English-speaking jobs where Russian is not mandatory. But if you know a little Russian it will help you. You need to create your network from the very beginning of coming here.

Did you need a work permit for your job?

For private tuition, I didn’t require any work permit. And for my online teaching I also didn’t need any. As I am not a full-time employee, so I didn't ask for any work permit. In a full time and official job you must need it. So, it's better to have one ready for future needs.

What are the skills required to teach in Russia?

First of all, your English proficiency should be at an advanced level. C1 is okay but C2 is better. You must be good at grammar and pronunciation. Those are the key skills you need for teaching.

Did you enjoy being a teacher in a foreign country?

Absolutely, at the very beginning I was very afraid of how my students would accept and welcome me. But I found they were very cordial and welcoming. I really enjoyed it a lot. Most importantly it creates a very good bonding. I also found a lot of networks from this teaching profession, which now helps me to create new opportunities.

What would be your suggestion for new international students?

I would say it’s not so hard to manage a job here. Just keep your eyes open. Make networks. Talk to people and learn from their experience. Don’t be shy and afraid to talk with people. Share your ideas. Get a good education and good life together. Russia is a land of opportunities. 

Tips and interview by

Md Naoshad Chowdhury