How did you hear about working in Russia?
From a friend who is working here in Moscow.
Was it difficult to get to Russia?
No, I got my visa, via an agent in Russia who arranges visa "invitations". The visa only cost about 200 USD. My return flight from Manila to Thailand Bangkok cost 600 USD ( you have to buy a return in case the visa is refused in Thailand) to Thailand includes 2 nights hotel. The flight from Thailand to Moscow cost about 1,400 USD, I had to have an HIV test that cost 350 USD. The "Invitation" to come to Russia cost 2,000 USD. Total: 3,250 USD (including pocket money for Moscow). This excludes travel tax. The agent knows people at the Russian embassy and arranged the invitation for me. The journey here was long and tiring as I had to fly from Manila to Bangkok to Moscow.
Were you afraid to come to Russia and what were you afraid of?
I was a little nervous but I have friends and family already working in Moscow.
Was is expensive to come to Russia?
Yes very. I borrowed the money to come here.
Was it hard to get a visa?
Are you alone in Russia?
I have friends and relatives here. I would not have come here alone if I did not know anyone.
Why did you choose Moscow and why did you come here?
Because it was very easy to enter Russia. I came here for work because pay is low at home, one months pay is about 250.00 USD. I must pay for my children's education.
What do you like and not like about living in Moscow?
I like the pay in Moscow. I don’t like the climate. The average temp back home now in December is 30 degrees, there is no winter.
Is hard or easy to find work in Moscow and what do you do here?
It was easy to find work by word-of-mouth via friends here. I work as a cleaner and babysitter.
Do you miss family and home?
Yes very much.
Do you send any money home and how do you send it home?
I send money back for my family via a bank called Speed Remit.
Will you stay long in Moscow?
As long as is financially necessary.
What has been the hardest thing to adjust to living in Moscow?
The cold climate and it's difficult to find the fresh vegetables and fresh fish that we get back home .
Have you had any good or bad experiences of living in Moscow?
The police are always asking me for my documents.
Would you advice would you give other women like you who want to work in Moscow?
"The Philippines is the world’s fourth biggest recipient of remittances, after India, China and Mexico, according to the World Bank. Money sent home by permanent migrants and temporary workers account for $21.3bn, 11.7 per cent of gross domestic product, a big boost to incomes in a country where two-fifths of more than 90m Filipinos live on $2 or less a day". Financial Times, 12 October, 2011.
I have met some women from the Philippines who have been working in Moscow for over five years. The only reason for being here is to send money back home. They provide most of the cleaning and baby siting needs of the expatriate and Russian middle class communities and without them life would be hard to impossible for some of these families living in Moscow.
It may seem, that a Filipino woman is almost like a new Plasma TV here, every family should have one, a Filippo woman is a "must have" and is as important as a washing machine or an iPad. Despite these awful and stereotypical comparisons, these woman are a vital help. Most of these women are treated well by their employers and manage to help their families back home. The reality is that it really can be hard without an extra pair of hands to help you at home. Trying to manage the transport and schooling logistics for two or more small kids, when you are the only parent in charge, can be tough in a big city like Moscow. These Filipino women, are a welcome lifeline rather than a luxury or a "must have". Expatriate parents don't have extended family in the form of a mother-in-law to help them with the kids, these Filipino women, fill a much needed gap in the overseas tool kit of day to day survival for most expatriate parents here.
These Filipino women, move to Moscow by choice and do the best they can to make a living, although I am absolutely sure, if they could work back home and make a decent living there, none would move to Moscow. This would be a great loss to the parental expatriate community in Moscow. Treat any home help with respect, pay them fairly but always get a reference and take a copy of their passport before you hire anyone of any nationality to work in your family home.