What to expect when moving to Russia from Ukraine

Go Global By Julia Gerstein December 19, 2019

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Although the red tape might look discouraging when you start exploring ways of moving to Russia, many Ukrainians have relocated successfully. Recent statistics from the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy show that from January to April 2019, more than 16,000 Ukrainians relocated to the East.

There are numerous programs for different situations, say, for those who have relatives in Russia, or for Russians living in Ukraine who qualify for a special transmigration program. But for Ukrainians who want to relocate simply for career opportunities, the process will look a little bit different.

To ensure your transition period goes smoothly, here are some things to keep in mind.

Logistics of moving to Russia

Nobody likes dealing with bureaucratic processes and paperwork, but it is a short-term pain you need to endure to achieve the long-term goal of settling in Russia.

Fortunately, to enter their neighboring country, Ukrainians need only their internal ID. It is advisable, however, to also have other papers in case customs requests additional documentation. Along with your internal ID, also gather:

  • An invitation from a person or your new company
  • A letter of guarantee
  • Your passport

Once in Russia, you will be able to stay within the country for 90 days without checking in at the local migration office. If you have friends in the new city, ask them to check you in at their apartment for the transition period. Once you’re settled, think about getting a temporary residence permit, which will give you the right to work. Later on, you can begin the process of obtaining citizenship.

If you need to send money to relatives back home during your transition process, use the Western Union® app to quickly and reliably provide them financial support.

What to expect when job hunting

If you emigrate from Kyiv to Moscow, whatever your occupation was back home — programmer, journalist, driver or electrician — you will likely be able to find a similar opening in Moscow, since the labor market offers many opportunities in different niches. In general, Ukrainians and Russians are alike in their work ethics, though Ukrainians may have more of a business mindset.

HR managers in Russia prefer online interviews and test assignments before you meet them personally, so you can start looking for a job in Moscow while still at home. Consider browsing the following job search websites: HeadHunter, Rabota, Zarplata, Avito, Indeed and MoiKrug.

What should you expect in terms of salary? According to data from Numbeo, the average net monthly salary in Moscow is nearly double that in Kyiv, with the difference even more pronounced when comparing Moscow wages to those in other Ukrainian cities.

Navigating the Russian housing market

Once in Russia, you will spot many ads in the street about apartments available for rent. But the most reliable way to find housing is to go to a well-established real estate agency such as MIEL, Incom or Azbuka. You can also check out websites like CIAN, Youla, Avito and The Locals.

The rent in Moscow varies depending on the district. The monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment will cost you about 35 000 RUB on the outskirts, according to the Numbeo data, which is 35% higher than a similar apartment outside of Kyiv. And you will have to pay around 60 000 RUB for a place downtown, which is approximately 36% higher than a downtown Kyiv apartment.

Cultural differences

One of the best parts about moving to Russia is exploring the local food, culture and socializing with other Ukrainians in your neighborhood.

What might disappoint you is the quality of food in Russia. Compared with the tasty meat, organic juices and ripe, delicious vegetables grown in Ukraine, food in the neighboring country is not as exciting — at least not in the central region. In Moscow, though, there are a few Ukrainian restaurants that might bring you the comforts of home.

On the other hand, you will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of art galleries and theaters. Connect with other Ukrainians in your community to explore these cultural institutions together.

Nowadays, Russia is a place to live and work if you want to provide for your family and succeed professionally. By knowing what to expect when moving to Russia, you can navigate the transition with confidence.