So you’re thinking about moving to Georgia and finding a job? Great.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the buzzing expat community, or maybe it’s Georgia’s uber-relaxed immigration laws that draw you here. Whatever the reason, don’t pack your bags just yet, as there are some vital things to consider first. And many of those things are the kind that relocation companies often fail to mention.
Georgia is an increasingly attractive destination for foreigners to move to due to the low cost of living, various business development options, vibrant multiethnic communities, and incredible landscapes just waiting to be explored. Whether you are an independent entrepreneur looking to move your business here, an employee wanting to work remotely, or just a flexible adventurer seeking to start your life over from scratch, there are a variety of options to find jobs in Tbilisi, Georgia for foreigners, though it may take some time.
Most Expats Don’t Work Locally
The biggest misconception some people have about the expat community in Georgia is that many foreigners move here for a job or to find one. In reality, this is not the case. The vast majority of expats here in Tbilisi, including my wife and myself, all have external income sources.
Some run a freelance business, while others rely on an online or foreign company to pay them a salary or a dividend. Whatever the exact income source, most of these people have income that doesn’t originate from Georgia. Of course, whatever the source of income, the low cost of living in Georgia means that your earnings will take you much further than they would in many other places.
This is further evidenced by Georgia’s generous schemes for independent entrepreneurs and digital nomads. Their 1% tax scheme and one year of visa-free entry into the country sounds very attractive for foreigners looking for a place to stay and work remotely, or even move their business here. We have a lot written about this topic in this article.
If you’re someone looking to open a business here, it’s never been easier! Opening a business in Georgia can be extremely cost-effective and provide adequate revenue for sustaining an enjoyable lifestyle here. Renting an office space is also relatively cheap compared to many other countries.
As Georgia is still considered a developing country, there are a lot of opportunities to establish yourself as a major player in the local economy as more and more never before seen goods and services make their way into the country. By operating such a business, you’re not only helping the local economy grow, but also laying a foundation for yourself to expand your venture further.
Jobs in Tbilisi: Where To Find a Local One
If you’re an expat looking for a local job in Tbilisi, there are several ways to find one.
The most popular method is to search through postings on local job search websites. Hr.ge is one such site, where you can create an account, upload your CV, and search for jobs in both Georgian and English. The advanced search option also allows you to narrow down the region of Georgia you are looking for work in, so that you can focus on jobs in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, or even smaller cities in Georgia. It is a fairly user-friendly website with a full English translation available and is also frequently updated.
Jobs.ge is very similar to hr.ge, and also one of the most popular job hunting website options. They feature hundreds of job postings, frequently update, and also offer an English version. Jobs.ge also allows you to search for region-specific posts, with loads more options than just jobs in Tbilisi.
CV.ge is another job search website with many listings in both Georgian and English, and has many features similar to the aforementioned options.
SS.ge is an eCommerce website with various merchandising services available, ranging from buying/selling small electronics to buying/selling property. They also have a job listings section where you can browse through various listings in English. The bonus which this website offers that other Georgian employment websites lack, is that here you can also find job listings from individual entrepreneurs, while other websites mainly focus on company listings.
LinkedIn is also used by a lot of companies for recruitment.
While there are many different avenues to seek jobs in Tbilisi or jobs in Georgia in general, most of these websites are filled with identical listings, as employers tend to mass post them to all available platforms. However, you may find a unique listing once in a while.
While there are exceptions, such as international firms looking for highly skilled specialists, a quick search through postings on HR.ge shows that most positions require the prospective employee to speak Georgian.
It makes sense, too. While the number of tourists and expats in Georgia is ever-increasing, the economy is still primarily geared toward the local population. Because of this, you won’t encounter a dynamic like that of Ibiza, Malta, Cancun, or other small-ish tourist resorts where the only languages that matter are the ones that visitors speak.
Although the above may be true, expats already living here have outlined how there are opportunities in the customer service sector, as many massive overseas companies open call centers in Georgia that require their workers to speak a number of foreign languages such as English, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Turkish, and Arabic. Therefore, there is still a chance to make a career out of that in Georgia.
There is also another avenue of approach to employment in Georgia: working at an embassy or NGO office. These types of jobs tend to be more skill and experience-oriented, but on the other hand, can also be more approachable to foreigners, because such positions don’t require fluent knowledge of the local language, since they already have employees specifically for that purpose.
Alternatively, you can always pop into expat groups on social media to ask around for advice. Who knows, maybe you will get lucky!
What To Expect: Average Salary in Georgia
Let’s say you have managed to find a job in Georgia, what kind of remuneration can you expect from your employer? Ok, let’s look at the official numbers, shall we? According to Geostat, the average monthly salary in Tbilisi last year was GEL 1,395 ($440/€380). Not very big numbers.
That’s, of course, just the average. So if you’re an unskilled laborer, you can expect to make much less than that. Similarly, if you’re a skilled professional, your salary could be double that amount. Foreign employees of international companies based in Georgia can earn significantly above the average.
After you’ve got your paycheck, the next question is, what is the cost of living in Georgia? Will your salary be enough to cover rent, utilities, and have some leftover funds for your personal use?
As mentioned above, living in Georgia can be quite cheap, especially if you have other sources of income from outside the country. If you are on a local wage, then your budget is going to be much harder to balance. Renting a single bedroom apartment can in some cases take about half of the average salary, while utilities may run up to around 100-200 GEL approximately, so you will likely be left with a couple hundred GEL for personal expenses and food. If you would like to get more detailed information about the cost of living in Georgia, you can check out our article about it here.
However, after your finances are sorted, there’s still an additional challenge left to overcome: the language.
The Language in Georgia is… Georgian!
In general, you can often get by using Russian, and if you’re in Tbilisi, then English is also usable to an extent. But this doesn’t make the knowledge of Russian, English, or even both enough to be competitive on the job market in Georgia.
The Law of Georgia on Labour Migration requires that Georgian employers (for example, LLCs, Individual Entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, etc.) register their foreign employees in the unified database of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Defence of Georgia.
This is even more important for foreign employees interested in work visa and/or work residence permit.
In addition to other general requirements, an employment agreement signed by a foreigner and a Georgian employer should:
- be bilingual (in Georgian and in the language that the foreigner understands);
- have a fixed term (it should not be concluded for an indefinite period of time); and
- be in writing.
Furthermore, the employment agreement should indicate the following:
- the identification information (full name, personal/passport/identification number) of the employer;
- the legal and factual addresses and bank account details of the employer;
- a list of the rights and obligations of the employer;
- the identification information (full name, personal/passport number number) of the employee;
- a list of the rights and obligations of the employee;
- the place of employment of the employee (address and name of the organizational unit);
- the conclusion and termination dates of the agreement.
In conclusion, Georgia is an incredible place and very rewarding for those who have an external source of income and can, therefore, enjoy the low cost of living. While it’s absolutely possible to move to Georgia and find a job locally, it won’t be a smooth ride.
Job seeking through the use of employment websites and various expat social media groups can certainly make it a lot easier for you to find work in Georgia as a foreigner. If you are planning to stay here for quite a while, it is highly recommended that you learn some basic Georgian as well, not only because it’s incredibly useful to do so, but also because it’s a truly unique language that both sounds and looks unlike any other.
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