Since the beginning of March, several hundred Russian IT professionals, engineers, startup founders and digital nomad developers have moved to South America, according to the Financial Times. They did this because of the simple entry rules, the calm attitude of Latin American countries towards Western sanctions against the Russian Federation, and the high demand in this region for qualified IT specialists and engineering personnel.
“Latin America is the only whole continent where Russians can buy a ticket and just come,” an ICESI University professor explained to the publication. In his opinion, the majority of visiting Russians are not oligarchs or rich people, but ordinary people who came to a new country without even having dual citizenship.
Experts found it difficult to estimate the exact number of digital nomads from the Russian Federation, since the countries of South America do not classify citizens of the Russian Federation separately. But local representatives of business, developersonnel services explained that recently there have been much more Russians in the professional environment. Many move their small businesses and startups there to be able to enter new markets without restrictions and sanctions. According to experts, a Russian technological hub is already being formed in the countries of South America, which continues to expand its membership.
Local experts explained that Russians began to arrive en masse in Latin American countries since 2020, but since March 2022 their arrival and presence has become more noticeable, as they are actively looking for contacts and begin to develop their business or look for employers for their compensation as early as Russian Federation, and then improve their employment opportunities some time after the move.
On June 21, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that the Russian Federation currently needs about 170 thousand IT specialists, the shortage of which arose after the departure of IT specialists from the country due to sanctions over the past few months.
On June 20, the head of the Ministry of Digital Development explained that, according to his data, about half of the IT specialists who left the Russian Federation continue to work for Russian companies for various reasons, including the already established culture of remote work.
On June 17, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, who oversees IT, said without exact figures that the majority of IT specialists who left Russia reacted emotionally and left, but for one reason or another they returned back, and they have something to do.
In early June, the media reported that the Ministry of Digital Transformation counted 80-85% of IT specialists who returned to Russia using a “mathematical projection”. Industry experts believe that half of the IT professionals who left may return by the end of the year, and some of them have already done so for various reasons.
On May 28, the media reported that a profile survey and a study by the association of software developers Russoft showed that by the end of the first half of the year, about 40 thousand Russian IT specialists are going to leave the country or have already done so. Moreover, half of them can return back when the necessary conditions for a highly paid job appear in the Russian Federation.
At the end of March, the Russian Association for Electronic Communications announced that up to 70,000 IT specialists had left the country, and up to 100,000 people were expected to leave the country in April.