Good news for international students in Russia: updated regulations that came into force earlier in August 2020 make it easier for them to work whilst they are studying.
Previously, international students had to obtain what one Uzbek student calls “an enormous pile of documents” before seeking term-time employment, which was enough to deter that student from looking for a part-time job.
With the change to the law, international students may now look for work during term time with just written confirmation from their university or college that they are a registered student. Neither they nor the employer needs to seek special permission or undertake a large paperwork exercise, and there are no limits on how many hours a week can be worked (as long as the work doesn’t place during a scheduled class). This mirrors the regulations already in place for breaks between semesters.
The thinking behind this policy change is to encourage students who need or want to find work to look for a job that’s more related to the area they are studying. More importantly, this move aims to reduce the cash (i.e. illegal) jobs that everyone knows students are doing.
This is hopefully a win-win for everyone. And what’s not to like about a regulation that reduces, rather than increases, red tape?
Russia’s international students
According to UNESCO, there are 250,658 international students in Russia. This means that just under 5% of the total student population is international – which may not sound much, but it’s on a par with the USA. The top sending countries to Russia are, unsurprisingly, from the former Soviet space with Central Asian countries leading the way: Kazakhstan (65,237 students), Uzbekistan (20,862), Turkmenistan (17,457), Ukraine (15,263), Tajikistan (14,204) and China turning up next with 11,950 students.
Here’s an infographic from RFE/RL showing the growth in international student numbers in Russia in recent years: