Two-Thirds of Tech Workers Who Fled Country Have Returned, Russia Says – The Moscow Times

Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media said Friday that two-thirds of tech workers who left the country after Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 have returned.

“Over the past year, we have not observed an outflow of IT specialists,” the ministry said in a statement, which appeared to have been issued in response to media reports about increased demand among Russian tech workers to relocate to Europe.

According to that report, published on Friday by the Kommersant business daily, the immigration consultancy firm Garant In saw a 233% spike in demand for European residency permits among Russian tech workers between January and March 2024.

“Around half of our residency permit inquiries come from IT specialists,” Garant In CEO Andrei Boyko told Kommersant.

According to Boyko, France accounts for 80% of all inquiries, which he links to the country’s relaxed residency and investment rules at a time when other EU members are shuttering residency programs for Russian tech workers.

Russia’s Communications Ministry, meanwhile, said that the number of tech workers in the country had increased by 13% last year, totaling around 857,000 workers in 2023.

“Overall, the IT industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Russian economy. All economic indicators of the industry show double-digit growth,” the ministry said.

The Russian government has introduced a number of incentives and state support programs to lure back tech workers who fled the country either in opposition to the war in Ukraine or to avoid being drafted into the army.

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