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How to Start Working with Remote Employees from the CIS Region. A Complete Guide

By providing a cost-effective and flexible solution, remote employees help small and medium-sized businesses implement their development plans. According to Bloomberg, the global giant Google has only 46% of its employees on staff, with the rest outsourced.

In February 2021, Drag’n Survey and Malt conducted a survey where they found out that many European professionals, including top management and top intellectuals, are planning to go freelance. Eventually, the majority of highly educated European employees over 35 years old will work remotely, which will raise the price of services.

Is it possible for European companies to save on the cost of specialists without sacrificing the quality of the work? Our experience suggests that it is advantageous to assemble a remote team of employees from the CIS region who know your language.

Prospects for Growth of the Freelance Market in Russia

In 2020, due to the impact of the pandemic, the Russian workforce began to favour remote employment en masse. Contractors with knowledge of different languages are getting more lucrative offers, and many freelancers have started learning foreign languages. So, today, it is not difficult to find a qualified professional with whom you can talk in your native language.
It is advantageous for foreign companies to hire remote workers from the CIS region. Wages are lower than those in dollar companies. More and more specialists can communicate in English, which means they can provide service worldwide.
Dmitry Dygin
HR expert specialising in employee recruitment for EU companies
According to a PwC forecast based on research by the National Freelancers Guild and J’Son&Partners, the Russian freelance market was one of the ten largest freelance markets in the world in 2020. An average freelancer earns around $ 244 per month in Russia, six times less than in the US and 15 times less than in India and Canada.

The Russian freelancing market is projected to grow at a rate of 20% per annum to $ 102 billion by 2025. Russia is moving dynamically to expand the areas of freelance work. Qualified personnel see more prospects in freelance activities. In addition, the continued instability associated with epidemiological constraints has forced people to reconsider their professional development plans for more than a year.

Cost of Specialists in Russia and the CIS Region

It is profitable for European companies to enter the Russian-speaking freelancing market. English-speaking professionals from the CIS region also dream of working in the West and give preference to such offers. Employees are attracted by the higher pay and the experience of working for an international company. Many work remotely with foreign companies for the prospect of future relocation. For the client this means a good flow of feedback and the opportunity to choose the most qualified person for a low fee.

One of the most in-demand areas in the global market is programming and development. Let’s compare the cost of software development specialists in different countries according to the Codemento platform.
The services of freelance developers from Russia and Ukraine, according to Upwork, range from 20 to 75 USD. And this is higher than on the Russian-language platforms. On the popular CIS region platforms for freelance workers FL.ru and Freelancehunt.com, the cost of Middle-developer services is $ 15−20 an hour.
The quality of work is not inferior, and in some areas, it is ahead of European and American alternatives, for example, Russian web-design is definitely ahead. The level of fintech and telecom services and solutions exceeds international standards. The development level of IT solutions is not inferior. Expertise, cost, and service are the three big pluses as to why companies are turning to specialists from the CIS region for work.
Dmitry Dygin
HR expert specialising in employee recruitment for EU companies
Graphic design services, according to the international platform UpWork, range from $ 15 to $ 110 per hour.
The lowest cost of design services on the international market is offered by residents of Russia and Ukraine. If you compare it with the Russian-language platforms, the price is even lower. The cost of the same specialists on FL.ru is $ 5−10.
Contact us, and we will help you find an English-speaking designer or any other highly qualified professional in the CIS region.

Fear of Working Remotely with Russian-Speaking Staff

Despite the benefits of working with professionals from the CIS region, many people are haunted by fears that prevent them from starting to work remotely with the Russian-speaking market. What might they be related to?

  1. I don’t know where to start.
  2. I don’t know how and where to look for specialists.
  3. I don’t know the language, the mentality and the specifics of communication with employees.
  4. I am afraid of bureaucratic problems.

These fears are well-founded. We will tell you how to overcome your fears and give you a step-by-step algorithm for working with freelancers from other countries.
Our client has experience working with employees from India and the CIS region as call centre operators. And I can say that workers from Russia and Ukraine are much more disciplined. While an Indian employee makes 10−15 calls, an employee from the CIS region makes 70 in the same amount of time.
Vitaly Tsepenyuk
an expert in finding English-speaking specialists in the CIS region, founder of the Talentix.ru agency
You can start working with English-speaking freelancers from post-Soviet countries on your own or with the help of a recruiter.

How to Find Specialists Independently

Many companies place orders on Russian-language exchanges in English. This way, they immediately attract specialists with knowledge of the language and can conduct further communication without intermediaries.
It is common practice, and this approach is suitable for starting remote work with residents of Russia and the CIS countries. However, by posting tasks in a foreign language, the client receives fewer responses and may miss out on a worthy candidate.

Hiring a bilingual recruitment assistant can increase the response rate. You can find such an expert in your own country or save money and hire one on the same Russian platform. The assistant will translate and post vacancies, communicate with candidates, and be in charge of the initial selection.
When looking for freelancers, it is quicker and cheaper to act independently: few recruiters are prepared to take on the task of selecting a person for a one-off job. But when looking for specialists to staff or for regular tasks, turning to a specialised team is a solution that can help you navigate the local labour market.
Dmitry Dygin
HR expert specialising in employee recruitment for EU companies

Where to Look for the Specialists from the CIS Region

Freelancing platforms. The most common way. The most popular platforms in Russia and the CIS region:


They are convenient because they allow you to search by specialisation and independently approach the top freelancers for a job offer. The platforms take into account the rating of specialists, their feedback, the number of successfully completed orders and the adherence to deadlines.

To place an order on a platform, you need to register and enter your payment details. Most services support international payment methods — PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard. The sites have a safe transaction policy: the order amount is frozen by the platform, the contractor receives payment when the customer confirms that the task has been completed. The administration charges a commission of up to 10% of the agreed value of the work.

The problem in dealing with most platforms is their inability to provide closing documents for European tax residents.

Russian-language freelance platforms are suitable for finding a contractor for a short-term task or testing. It is not the most convenient option for building long-term working relationships.

Social Media and Telegram Channels. There are many remote work communities on Facebook, VKontakte and Telegram, where contractors post their services and customers post advertisements. The advantage of this method is that it is free or has a nominal cost ($ 1−5). You put your contacts in the ad, and interested professionals contact you themselves.

There are certain risks in using such an approach:

  • there is no way to check the integrity and diligence of the freelancer;
  • high availability generates many enquiries, which can be quickly lost or go unnoticed in the job seekers' feed
I recommend starting your search for a specialist on job portals. Draw a picture of the ideal candidate and describe the vacancy in detail. We notice that many European companies do not focus on working conditions and requirements for applicants. At the same time, they often miss out on good specialists who pass over such job advertisements.
Vitaly Tsepenyuk
an expert in finding English-speaking specialists in the CIS region, founder of the Talentix.ru agency

How to Find Freelancers with a Recruiter

If you are in doubt or simply do not want to waste time and immerse yourself in the details of finding remote specialists who speak your language, you can hire a recruiter. It is not the most cost-effective option, but it allows you to find a qualified person in the right field in a short time with the help of a professional.

Recruitment Agency in Your Country that Specialises in Recruitment in the CIS Region

The advantages of this method are the ease of implementation and the convenience of cooperation. However, the services of local agencies are quite expensive. In addition, it can be problematic to find a company that specialises in recruiting English-speaking specialists from the CIS region.

In-House Recruiter

Hiring a professional recruiter from the CIS region saves money and gives you confidence in their knowledge of the market, mentality and average working costs. The recruiter usually speaks both languages, which eliminates the risk of misunderstandings. This option is suitable for companies that regularly hire remote workers. If there is no regular need to find freelancers, hiring an in-house recruiter would be unprofitable for the company.

Recruitment Agent with Language Skills

When recruiting freelancers for one-off projects, an agent with knowledge of your language from the CIS region is a solid option. A good recruiter has skills in working with Russian-speaking contractors and will take all the nuances of cooperation into account when selecting them. An experienced recruiter usually has a large database of freelancers made up of black and white lists. The commission paid to such recruiters is usually one month’s salary of a specialist (from 500 to 2500 EUR) with a guarantee of replacement within two months.

Register on easystaff.io, and we will match you with proven recruiters from the CIS region with experience in recruiting for EU companies. Fill in your company profile and send current vacancies to [email protected].

Legal Aspects of Organising Remote Work

When working remotely with employees from other countries, there are many questions about organising collaboration. Is it necessary to sign an NDA and draw up an agreement? How is tax calculated? What needs to be considered when approving terms and conditions, and what are the limits and fees for bank transfers? Which bank is best, and how do you confirm expenses to reduce tax?

Large companies and start-ups with investments set up representative offices or use outsourcing and outstaffing. Unfortunately, smaller organisations from EU countries cannot afford such costs and do not allow themselves to enter the labour market in the CIS region. EasyStaff. io helps companies of all sizes hire workers from all countries.

We have created the EasyStaff service so that you can interact with remote employees no matter what country you and the contractor are based in. This makes it possible to work with tax residents of any country. You sign a contract and receive closing documents from easystaff. io, a legal entity based in Lithuania. We undertake to organise a relationship with your remote team. As soon as 5 minutes after you have found a suitable specialist, you can set tasks and pay for the work.

With EasyStaff, hundreds of EU companies have expanded their team with English-speaking specialists from the CIS countries.

Conclusion

Building an agile team is the future of modern organisations. Collaborating with specialists from around the world makes it possible to maintain a small core staff and an unlimited army of remote workers.
Expertise, cost and service are three good reasons why companies turn to specialists from the CIS region.
Dmitry Dygin
HR expert specialising in employee recruitment for EU companies
Western companies benefit greatly from working with qualified and inexpensive specialists from the CIS countries. Bureaucratic matters can be entrusted to the EasyStaff service, which will take care of the paperwork with the contractor, the transfer of payment and guarantees that the task will be carried out by the contractor. Now even small companies from Europe have access to the post-Soviet labour market.

Contact us, and we will find the right recruiter, assistant or help you find a specialist from the CIS region for free!