Russia To Ban Remote Work Abroad

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Upcoming Russian law would ban some professions from remote working outside the country, as hundreds of thousands flee Ukraine conflict

The Russian government plans to introduce a law early this year that could ban certain professionals from working remotely outside the country, in a move to force the return of some professionals who have gone abroad.

The government estimates about 100,000 IT professionals currently work for Russian firms from outside the country.

Many Russians fled the country after its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February of last year, and hundreds of thousands followed after a broader military mobilisation last September.

The upcoming law, which first came to light two weeks ago, is in part motivated by security concerns about remote workers who may inadvertently disclose sensitive information to foreign governments.

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Russia’s Digital Development Ministry said in December it opposes a total ban on remote working from abroad, saying this would hinder the competitiveness of Russian digital firms.

“In the end, the winner will be whoever can attract the most talented people, including those located abroad,” the ministry said.

But it said it would support a ban for developers of government information systems.

The bill is expected to cover workers in cybersecurity, state employees, members of some transport sectors and areas which deal with classified information, according to local media reports.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of Russia’s lower house of parliament, called the State Duma, has said he wants to see higher taxation for workers who have moved abroad.