Russian Language Opportunities Ref. 2319

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Cheltenham, London, Scarborough
£30,831 - £37,315 (based on location)
What mark would you give your Russian? If you answered "пятерку", we want you to use your skills to protect the UK.

The Intelligence Agencies are offering you an exciting opportunity to put your Russian expertise to valuable use in one of our organisations.


Your knowledge of Russian could open up a fascinating career in British intelligence. Join GCHQ, MI5 or MI6 and you’ll play a key role in helping to keep the UK safe from external threats.

You’ll use your language and analytical skills to provide intelligence insights that often have direct impact on UK government policy and decision-making. Your challenge is to seek out the important information from Russian language material and make that material accessible and understandable to others. You’ll play an active role in directing projects and driving forward investigations, working right at the heart of intelligence. It’s gripping work, which will draw on your judgement, people skills and linguistic and cultural expertise every step of the way.

While the role is challenging, our flexible working policy ensures a healthy work-life balance. Wherever possible, we accommodate reduced hours or job share options, balanced against business needs.

Have a listen to a Russian audio clip here. If you can understand most of what is said, we strongly encourage you to apply!


If you’re excited about working with us and think you have some of what we’re looking for but aren’t sure if you’re 100% there yet......rule yourself in and give it a go!

You will have learned Russian to a very high academic standard, equivalent to at least degree or C1 level. You’ll certainly have a passion for the language and an ability to translate its nuances into clear, well-drafted English.

Your linguistic skills need to be complemented by a good knowledge of Russian culture, history, politics, ideology and economy. You also need to combine an analytical, enquiring mind with strong powers of judgement and good people skills.


At the Intelligence Agencies, we’re proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes. As organisations that value and nurture talent, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential. But you’re not expected to come to us with a wealth of knowledge, or skills, on day one. With comprehensive training and development opportunities, tailored to your personal needs and the requirements of your work, we’ll enable you to flourish in your role and perform to the very best of your abilities.

We’ll support you to enhance your linguistic skills further, for example, through ongoing language maintenance classes. You’ll also receive training on non-language aspects of the job, including more technical skills.

In return, you’ll receive a range of benefits (including a recognition payment to reward the advancement of language skills).


There are openings for Russian specialists at all three of the UK’s intelligence agencies. GCHQ uses its expertise in technology and cyber to collect foreign intelligence that linguists translate and analyse to protect the UK from terrorism, hackers, espionage and organised crime. MI5 is responsible for the domestic security of the UK and the work of our linguists helps to identify and counter threats to the UK from terrorism, espionage and cyber. MI6 gathers and reports foreign intelligence that helps protect the nation and its interests, and the expertise of our linguists is key to the success of our operations.


London: Up to £37,315
Cheltenham and Scarborough: £30,831 (which includes a concessionary payment).  Upon successful completion of a probation period (usually 6 months) you’ll be eligible for an additional payment of £3,000 in recognition of your language skills.

LOCATION: Cheltenham or Scarborough for GCHQ, or London for MI5 and MI6. We cannot guarantee which agency you will join. However, if you are successful, we will explore this with you in the latter phases of the recruitment process.


To apply for this position, you must meet our nationality, residency and security requirements. You can find these on our website.

You’ll be required to complete an application form, providing contact details and equal opportunities monitoring information. You’ll also be asked to provide background about your education and employment history, as well as details of your Russian language skills and any other language(s) you have learnt and your motivation for using Russian in a role in intelligence. You’ll only have to fill out one application form: under the single-application process, each of the three agencies will receive a copy of your application for consideration.

Following this, the recruitment team will conduct a paper sift of applications. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a language test in person which will assess your Russian language ability across a range of tasks including listening, reading comprehension and translation.

If you’re successful at the Russian language tests, a decision will be made as to which agency will best suit your skill set and this agency will invite you to attend their final assessment centre. The assessment centre will include a face-to-face interview and other exercises. For GCHQ the assessment centre takes place in Gloucestershire. MI5 and MI6 run their respective assessment centres in central London.  

Once the successful applicant has been determined, the candidate will be asked to attend a security interview with a Vetting Officer. You’ll also be required to complete a hearing test.


As part of our commitment to being a ‘Disability Confident Leader’ we offer an interview to all candidates with a disability who meet our minimum criteria for the role that they are applying for.

To secure an interview for this vacancy, the minimum criteria (in order of application process are):

• Eligibility questions – You will be asked a series of questions relating to this vacancy. If you meet the eligibility criteria you will directed to the initial application form.
• Application form – You will be required to pass an application form sift
• Language Tests - You will be required to reach the pass mark set for the Russian Language tests.  

On successful completion of the tests, you will be invited to interview. This is our offer of interview.


To be eligible to apply, you must be a British Citizen. One of your parents must be a British Citizen or must have one of the nationalities or citizenships from one of the following: British Overseas territory, British subject, British National (Overseas), British protected person, citizenship of the Commonwealth, EEA nationality, or citizenship of the United States of America. If deceased, have had such citizenship or nationality before death. If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered. If successful, you will not normally be required to give up your non-British citizenship but, as a condition of your employment or secondment, the intelligence agencies may impose restrictions on your postings, work travel and/or general use of that nationality. Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for seven out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. Each case will be carefully considered on its own facts. You can apply at the age of 17 years and 6 months, if successful you will not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday.

Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member.

Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside of the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. Further information on our eligibility criteria can be found on the Applying section.

At (GCHQ, MI5 and MI6) diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve. This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodiverse conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.