The construction industry historically is characterised by high levels of labour mobility favouring the recruitment of migrant labour. In the EU migrant workers make up around 25% of overall employment in the sector and similar if not higher figures exist for the sector in Russia. The geo-political changes of the 1990s have had a substantial impact on migration flows, expanding the pool of labour recruitment within and from the post-socialist East but also changing the nature of migration. The rise of temporary employment has raised concerns about the weakness and isolation of migrant workers and the concomitant risk of abuse. Migrant workers though cannot be reduced to helpless victims of state policies and employers’ recruitment strategies. Findings of the research presented here unveil how they meet the challenges of the international labour market, the harshness of debilitating working conditions and the difficult implications for their family life choices.