Migration policy towards skilled labor in the Russian Federation

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The article analyzes the policy of the Russian Federation towards skilled foreign labor in retrospect — from the moment of the collapse of the USSR to the present day. It is shown that throughout the recent history of law-making and in practice, labor migrants have been considered mainly as a temporary phenomenon despite the country’s need for qualified personnel who could become a part of its resident population. The article attempts to systematize existing channels of skilled migration and provides main principles of their operation. It is shown that, with the exception of a program aimed at the so-called highly skilled specialists (HSS), other forms of attracting foreign workers do not offer a package of conditions that can interest potential migrants in moving to Russia. The system of attracting HSS has not yet shown its effectiveness and is mainly used for simplified temporary access to the Russian labor market. The State Program of assistance to the resettlement of compatriots, formally intended for migrants with ethnic and cultural affinity to the population of Russia, actually uses the principles of selection of skilled labor migrants. Only at the end of 2019, steps were taken that made it easier for graduates of Russian universities and technical schools, as well as specialists with professions in demand, to obtain a residence permit. However, these steps look half-hearted. Comparing the Russian experience with the practice of some foreign countries gives grounds for thinking about what tools and approaches can improve the effectiveness of the Russian policy towards qualified migrants and arouse their interest in moving to our country for permanent residence.

JEL classification: E24, J08, J15, J61.
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