Working in Georgia?
Working in Georgia
Heavily reliant on imports, the industry in Georgia is centered on agriculture and mining. It has a substantial hydro-power capacity, which meets the majority of the population’s energy requirements. All three have been instrumental in the country’s economic recovery post-1990, resulting in a robust GDP.
Georgia’s economic health and rising GDP have been supported by gains in both the industrial and service sectors, particularly the tourism industry. Many foreign businesses and charities now operate out of Tbilisi, creating jobs for locals. Some of these international companies also employ people from outside of the former Soviet State, relocating them to Georgia.
The UN, OSCE, and the International Red Cross all operate out of Georgia. Despite this international presence, employment opportunities for expats are limited, with teaching English one of the few direct opportunities available to foreigners in Georgia. TEFL qualifications are recognized and could be essential to funding your stay if your move is not driven by an existing job offer.
Job Hunting in Georgia
The job hunting process for foreigners in Georgia is pretty typical and can be conducted online and through speculative communications.
If you are not teaching, finding work in Tbilisi or any of the other cities is likely to be difficult. It is worth contacting the international companies that operate in the country directly to see if they have any job vacancies. They are unlikely to advertise open positions for foreigners, preferring instead to employ locals, so you stand a better chance of securing a role if you approach them directly. Make sure you do your research, and that your skills and experience are relevant to the teams they have working in Georgia.
There are also a few portals geared up specifically to finding jobs for expats. These can overlap slightly with other online job boards, but are a great place to start when planning your international move. Don’t be afraid to approach Georgian companies as well; the economy is providing local companies with the security to expand, and many might be keen to add an international element to their staff. Most Georgians speak Georgian and some Russian, with younger people often having a good command of English, so expats proficient in European languages such as German and French could be a boon to an expanding company.
Native English speakers can earn a good living teaching English in Georgia, and there are a variety of online job boards to center your search on. Salaries are very varied, and reflect the location as much as your experience. Resources such as the TEFL's guide on standard rates of pay across countries can be invaluable in giving you a good idea of the type of salary you can expect in Georgia.
Working Visa and Residents Permit
Visas for expats working in Georgia is a murky subject. Previously, you were able to stay in Georgia for up to 360 days without obtaining a resident's permit. As a result, many employers offered and some still offer jobs to people on tourist visas. Despite the number of internet resources suggesting you do not need to obtain any special form of visa to work and earn in the country, it is illegal to work on a normal tourist visa under most circumstances.
The confusion likely arises from a change in the Georgian visa policy in late 2014. Tourists visiting the country, freelancers working there, journalists, and those attending business meetings and conferences can now do so on the ordinary Tourist visa. However, if you’re intending to obtain work in Georgia, set up a business there, or provide paid services to a Georgian company, you must travel on a long-term visa. Depending on the reason of your stay, various documents are required for such a visa application. A long-term visa is also a prerequisite for obtaining a resident’s permit.
A tourist visa only allows you to spend 30 days in the country, and is only valid for a single entry. If you are visiting prior to your move and you think you are likely to cross the border, you will need to obtain a long-term visa to allow multiple entries into the country.
Living and working in any foreign country can be a rewarding and valuable experience. Georgia offers more challenges than some, but a wealth of advantages others cannot rival. From unique architecture to friendly neighbors, unforgettable vistas to fine food, a move to Georgia is likely to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.