Foreign Workers in Russia: Employers’ Opinions

Foreign Workers in Russia: Employers’ Opinions

Denisenko M.B.

Cand. Sci. (Econ.), Director, Vishnevsky Institute of Demography, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”

Mukomel V.I.

Chief Researcher, Head of the Center for the Study of Interethnic Relations, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS

ID of the Article:

M.B. Denisenko worked on the article as part of a grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (No. 075-15-2022-325).

For citation:

Denisenko M.B., Mukomel V.I. Foreign Workers in Russia: Employers’ Opinions. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 1. P. 26-37


Russian discourses on migration ignore the interests of the employer. The authors of this article seek to close this gap. They focus on the following topics: employers’ motivations for recruiting foreign workers; the main types of economic activity and occupations of labor migrants; channels for finding a job and a worker; selection criteria for labor migrants; preferences for hiring and paying Russian and foreign workers; employers’ attitudes towards planned innovations in migration law. It is shown that the main reason for recruiting of foreigners is a shortage of workers. Manual workers and specialists are the most sought-after categories of foreigners. It was revealed that the main requirement for a skilled worker is his skilled work experience and qualification, while for unskilled workers – knowledge of Russian language and work permit. Few employers are interested in the nationality, age and gender of the worker. The advantage of foreign workers is their willingness to work overtime and for less money, as well as labor discipline. The advantages of Russian workers are in their qualifications, ability to retrain, and ability to work as a team. The majority of employers indicated equal pay for Russians and foreigners. The survey showed employers’ negative attitudes toward the restrictive procedure for hiring foreigners and the authorities’ access to their personal data, including their geolocation. The anticipated strengthening of control over migrants and employers will only encourage them to go into the shadow sphere. The study is based on two employer surveys conducted in 2017 and 2022.

employers, foreign workers; labor migrants; labor market; economic activities; occupations; labor shortage
Content No 1, 2023