Moving to Kiev and new to Forum, Hi all

Hi All,

I am Phil, i will be moving to Kiev in July/August, i currently live in the UK and was born here.

I have a new job working in Kiev, i have been her 7 times before with work, so i have experienced a little of the culture and people, i have to admit i do like the country and people, but im not stupid enough to think 4-6 day trips will be anything like living here full time.

I am interested in meeting new expat friends, and learning more about the culture and any tips people could give me would be good.

I am looking for a new apartment, help with the areas to look for and avoid would be apreciated, also guidance on prices and procedure etc.

Just general help and info would be very much accepted

Cheers

Phil

Hello Phill,

I only decided to reply because you seem to be a seriuos person in need of real information about Kiev due to work related relocation.

In general I understand that work is work and would like to congradulate you on finding one. However, I am afraid I don't have much positive to say about your choice of location.

I don't meat to disappoint you, but Kiev is very expensive and job opportunities are very scarce even for an expat with good background ( so even if you found a job just beware). About ten years age the situation was very different as the costs of living including rent were lower (both in comparison to western Europe and to what it is today) and the economy was growing. New companies with western capital were springing up (especially in Kiev) and some well known multinationals were openning their offices in the capital. The demand for native speakers from different countries was strong and as a consecuence many expats were finding employment (with good salaries and prospects for growth)

However, since that time the country has gone backwards because the promise of more development never really materialized, while expats kept coming to Kiev where the costs of living reached western European levels. So now Kiev is one of the most expensive places in EASTERN Europe, with very high Real Estate prices, very few companies hiring and very many expats living in the city looking for some meant to sustain themselves. I am saying all this to underline the fact that the European flovor which Kiev and some of the other Ukrainian cities have can not mask the unreformed nature of the Ukrainian economy (from Soviet times), leading to LOTS of CORRUPTION (needing to pay bribes wherever you go and whatever you decide to do) and VERY FEW EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES.

Even If you have a good paying job I just want you to know that it is only in Kiev that monthly incomes approach $500  with jobs in other regions paying much less.  Having said all that - enjoy your time in Kiev, just be real about your prospects of building a life in Ukraine.

I was also thinking that the following info might be interesting to you (written by me in reply to another expat's question):

I am not sure just showing up in Kiev is a good idea. Rent is expensive $400 for a studio on the outskirts and $700 downtown)and job opportunities scarce (average salary for Kiev $500/monthy net, in other big cities about $350. Corruption in Ukrainian society is something else you will have to account for meaning that any document or official paper will take you much effort to obtain. On the top of it all you will have to deal with the fact that Ukrainian economy is in deep downturn right now. For you it means that while many expats had come to Kiev in search of a place to make a living before the crisis, now many are still in town at the time of much lesser demand for their services and skills. You will be competing against those people. Do you really want all that not speaking the language and not knowing Eastern European customs?

PS. Having said all that you might still find Kiev more cosmopolitan and more enjoyable than what I have described. I just want everyone to know what a fake it all is in terms of the ability to make money and sustain yourself in that kind of environment. Ukraine (at least big cities) has a posh European feel, but not the substance. People still make SOOO little money (by Western standards). Even Bulgaria at resent time is a better choice. It might not have too many more job opportunities, but the country is in EU, property prices are much lower and in general things like groceries are cheaper there than in Ukraine. So just be aware.

Thank you for your reply.

Luckily i have employment from a UK company i have worked with for many years and i have my UK salary, so i suppose from that point if view i am lucky, i do understand the situation in Kiev and the Ukraine at the moment, as mentioned i have been to the Ukraine every month in 2012, and work visits before.

but your information is helpful and i will take it on board,

Thank you

Hello friendly76.

Welcome to Expat.com.

Concerning the accommodation, have you tried to post an advert in the section housing in Kiev? It might be helpful..

Good luck in your research,
Aurélie

Hi, Phil!
I am working with expats in Kiev, Ukraine. Please, ask me about all you are interested to know in Ukraine: Immigration rules, work permits, accomodation, service to the appatment, orientation tour in Kiev, etc.
Best regards and see you in Kiev!

Dear Phil,

Welcome to Kiev! If you have a good job (and I hope you do) you will have a great time here. The average salary in Kiev may be around 500-700 USD/month for either low qualified work like cachiers and shop assistants or state employees like doctors, teachers, ministry employees etc. Usually in Kiev a slary of 1000 USD for young people like 27-35 years old and well qualified is considered to be a good one. Not perfect but acceptable. 2000 USD is very good.
Just FYI me personally I get 1500 USD being a manager of foreign economic activity. My wife gets around 500 USD. We have 10 years old son and this is enough for living. I wouldn't say this is very cool but it's enough taking into account our life style with smoking, drinking and week-ends in our country house that we own 100 km away. So we evidently have a serious possibilities for optimisation of our finance policy ))
I don't know how you live at home in UK and what conditions you got used to but I think that 1500 USD would be acceptable for you here even with 500 USD for hiring an average flat with one room in a good location. If you get 2000 USD and more you'll be satisfied I guess. If you get 3000 USD you will feel absolutely free ))

I disagree with oleggy in many things he sais. Of course Kiev is not the whole Ukraine. The life here differs from outskirts. But living in Kiev you get satisfactory life conditions. I've been to different places in Europe and other regions and I can fairly say that I don't see any huge difference between life there and here. You should have money to live. The more you have the better you live. This rule is common for any country.
About corruption. Imho this problem is too dramatized. You have to know two things: 1. The corruption is not a problem here. It is just an integral part of national mentality. This is not a corruption but a special way of outlook. I mean for last 20 years. People know that the state doesn't care about them so they perceive it just like something that exists here but lives its own life. If you can cheat it you should do that because it cheats you all the time. Because the state here is not like in normal traditional countries. It doesn't have its own incarnation. It's just a number of employees from a simple clerck up to the president. They are the same people like you and they create laws and rules. But those rules seem to exist in other reality than you do. So you have to respect them as far as they can bring you into a trouble. 2. This is not true that anywhere you go you have to pay bribes. No. Sometimes, somewhere... and in most cases you do that because you don't want to follow the legal procedures. You don't want it. And you pay to avoid it. If you can you can do as it should be without any bribes. It may be slower but it will work.

urgon wrote:

Dear Phil,

Welcome to Kiev! If you have a good job (and I hope you do) you will have a great time here. The average salary in Kiev may be around 500-700 USD/month for either low qualified work like cachiers and shop assistants or state employees like doctors, teachers, ministry employees etc. -

oleggy - That would be $300-400 not $500-700. Usually in Kiev a slary of 1000 USD for young people like 27-35 years old and well qualified is considered to be a good one. Yet most young people are lucky to  get $600-700 and that my friend is truly acceptable, while a salary of $1000 is above average, $2000 USD is very good indeed.

Just FYI me personally I get 1500 USD being a manager of foreign company

ollegy - and it is a problem here, I was letting a foreigner know about the AVERAGE Ukrainian salary and average way of life in Kiev. Your situation and position in society is that which in the West would be considered "upper-middle class", not rich but still "upper middle" in a country where the middle class itself is tiny. For comparison consider this: I am not a manager but a technical writer for IT company in Boston and my monthly salary is $3000, had I been a senior employee or a manager at my company I would probably get $5000.

My wife gets around 500 USD. We have 10 years old son and this is enough for living. I wouldn't say this is very cool but it's enough taking into account our life style with smoking, drinking and week-ends in our country house that we own 100 km away. So we evidently have a serious possibilities for optimisation of our finance policy ))
I don't know how you live at home in UK and what conditions you got used to but I think that 1500 USD would be acceptable for you here even with 500 USD for hiring an average flat with one room in a good location. If you get 2000 USD and more you'll be satisfied I guess. If you get 3000 USD you will feel absolutely free )) - the problem is that very few Ukrainians are that free.

I disagree with oleggy in many things he sais. Of course Kiev is not the whole Ukraine. The life here differs from outskirts. But living in Kiev you get satisfactory life conditions - yes indeed

oleggy - I gree that making $1500 in a city where  the average is $500 one would get "sattisfactory life conditions"
I've been to different places in Europe and other regions and I can fairly say that I don't see any huge difference between life there and here. You should have money to live. -

oleggy - Well let me say this brother, it is true that money solves many problems and to live well one should have anough no matter where he lives. It is just that in a country like Ukraine the opportunities to make money don't exist for the vast majority of population (I would say about 85%) therefore you really can't compare it to the west where middle class itself is about 50% for the continent of Europe as a whole. In Kiev the situation might be little better and middle class is probably around 30 to 40% of overall population, still that means the average salary  for the "young person" of about $500-700 a month.

The more you have the better you live. This rule is common for any country.About corruption. Imho this problem is too dramatized -

oleggy - well drammatized or not Ukraine is so corrupt that no western measure of corruption applies here because it is in effect everywhere.  The fact that some people in Ukraine don't consider it a problem because it is so common and so entranched in Ukrainian society does not make it any less of a problem. On the contrary  - the fact that corruption is so accepted here should give any foreigner a warning about a true state of conditions in Ukraine.

You have to know two things: 1. The corruption is not a problem here. It is just an integral part of national mentality. This is not a corruption but a special way of outlook. I mean for last 20 years. People know that the state doesn't care about them so they perceive it just like something that exists here but lives its own life. If you can cheat it you should do that because it cheats you all the time. Because the state here is not like in normal traditional countries. It doesn't have its own incarnation. It's just a number of employees from a simple clerck up to the president. They are the same people like you and they create laws and rules. But those rules seem to exist in other reality than you do. So you have to respect them as far as they can bring you into a trouble. 2. This is not true that anywhere you go you have to pay bribes. No. Sometimes, somewhere... and in most cases you do that because you don't want to follow the legal procedures. You don't want it. And you pay to avoid it. If you can you can do as it should be without any bribes. It may be slower but it will work.

If anyone gets offended by my comments just double check the information at http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/ci … &city=Kiev

Also talking about the standard of living in Kiev we need to compare not only salaries but prices as well - here is where the city really looses out and is uncompetitive in comparison to other EU or even Eastern European capitals.

With average incomes of $550 a month ($600-700 for young to mid-level  professionals and $1000-1500 for mid-level managers) and with starting salaries in many fields around $300-400 I really don't think one can argue that things are OK in Kiev.  On the top of that consider food, rent and leisure prices which equal those in Prague or Warsaw, where average salaries are twice as high. In the western capitals salaries are 5-6 times higher and  rents may be 125-150 percent of Kiev's; food costs about the same as in Kiev.

So please urgon, don't tell me that living in Ukraine is like living anywhere else in the world - good with money, bad without. In Ukraine people get so little money that even young and middle level profs.  struggle to sustain the kind of living standard that is the west would be considered low. While in the other stratas of society (even in Kiev) $300-400 is considered a norm. (I make that in a few days working for IT company in US)

Hi Phil,

I just wanted to ask you if you had any advice now that you've moved to Kiev? I'm in a similar position to you, with a foreign job etc and am considering moving to Kiev. I'm from Eastern Europe so the culture won't be a huge shock to me, or the corruption I keep hearing about :)

I just wanted to hear if you found it easy to find an apartment, the expenses that entailed, etc...

Regards,
Sanja

Hello Sanja.

I guess about the flat not hard to find, by broker or even by searching on internet.

but it depend of how much you wanna bay?
you should know its expensive to rent here even one room apartment close to the center ( start from 370 - 400 $  per month)

of course it would be different prices in other city of Ukraine , but the chance of work would be less there specially for foreigner.

Hi kareemp, I am planning on spending two months in ukraine as a postgrad fellowship, do you know a city with good medicine and acceptable accomodation costs?

Thank you beforehand,

David

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