BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2018/08

The Gaidar Institute recently published a review on migration of educated people in Russia. Researchers relied on e.g. foreign statistics and survey data as they do not believe Rosstat figures provide a comprehensive picture of the situation. The review does not cover illegal guest workers in the country.

Researchers estimate that roughly 100,000 Russians a year have emigrated to the West in recent years. Some 40 % of them have higher education. Most have left Russia in the face of decaying economic and labour market conditions. The main motive for about a quarter of emigrants, however, is the country's political situation: in particular the geopolitical events of 2014, but also disappointment with the 2012 presidential election. A third of emigrants say they will not return to Russia, while roughly a half are open to the option of returning and the rest are actively planning to move back.

Researchers found that the educational level of people moving to Russia has declined in past decades, and on average immigrants are now less educated than the Russian population. According to survey results only 13–17 % of immigrants had higher or incomplete higher education. Even these people had trouble finding work corresponding to their education in Russia. Russia has tried to attract high-skilled workers through preferences, but after six years of implementation Russia has received only 150,000 high-skilled immigrants.