Travel ban on Russian IT specialists ‘unnecessary’ – ministry

Russia’s Communications Ministry opposes barring IT specialists from traveling and working from abroad

Travel ban on Russian IT specialists ‘unnecessary’ – ministry

Travel ban on Russian IT specialists ‘unnecessary’ – ministry

Lawmakers reportedly wanted to introduce restrictions on working from abroad “in the near future”

Moscow should not impose any travel bans on information technology (IT) specialists, Maksut Shadaev, the head of Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, said on Wednesday. The ministry considers such limitations to be detrimental to the industry, he stressed.

Shadaev’s comments came amid media reports of a legislative initiative that would ban people employed in IT from traveling abroad and working from there.

“We believe that any restrictions are unnecessary,” the minister said, adding that “they could be even harmful under the present circumstances.” Instead, economic stimuli are needed to encourage Russians to stay and work in their home country, he added.

“What we want to say is… that those who left [Russia] may come and work comfortably or just continue working for the Russian companies from where they are,” Shadaev explained.

Earlier this month, his ministry was equally critical of another reported initiative, aimed at barring Russians from working remotely from abroad altogether.

“Introduction of a total ban [on remote work from abroad] might decrease the development rate of digital platforms and solutions, negatively affecting their competitiveness,” the communication ministry said in a Telegram post at that time.

The media outlet RTVI had reported that a ban could be introduced to the State Duma “in the near future,” citing Russian Senator Andrey Klishas. Some outlets then said the ban might be approved by the end of the year. No bill has been presented to the lawmakers so far.

Forbes reported in September that around six percent of Russian IT specialists had left their homeland for other nations. Other media outlets linked the “exodus” to the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. A survey conducted by the company Ventra HR and cited by Forbes, however, showed that most of those who left did so before 2022.

Another six percent of Russian IT specialists told Ventra they moved to other regions in the country, while 25% said they were considering some sort of relocation in the future.