Natives of former Soviet republics find it difficult to fit into Moscow life: they rarely use the cultural opportunities available in the city; instead, they work long hours on weekdays and spend weekends socialising within their ethnic community. For migrants who rarely venture outside their familiar environment, Moscow remains a city they know very little about.
Most migrants had to change occupations once in Russia; just 31.2% – mainly those who had been employed in construction or retail – found their first job in the same sector they had worked in back home. In contrast, better-educated migrants who used to work in healthcare, education and public administration are the least likely to find similar jobs in Russia. Most of these professionals have switched to retail and utilities instead.
How much a migrant earns in Russia largely depends on his or her ethnicity. Even after years of being employed in Russia, ethnically non-Russian migrants from other CIS countries still earn on average 13% less than the locals, due mainly to discrimination and segregation, in particular migrants' limited access to certain jobs.
Having limited, if any, access to free healthcare in Russia, migrants from CIS countries are forced to find other ways to meet their health needs: either directly at the workplace (most construction sites and indoor markets employ a doctor or paramedic), by consulting with friendly medics by phone or accessing private clinics staffed by members of their own ethnic group, where migrants usually face less discrimination.
Contrary to myth, the proportion of migrant births in Moscow remains stable at 7% of all births. However, the percentage of newborns abandoned by foreign parents in maternity wards is significantly higher, at one-quarter to one-third of all cases. Most abandoned babies are born to women from Kyrgyzstan (40%), Tajikistan (20%), Moldova and Ukraine (up to 15%).