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The US plans to capitalize on a Russian 'brain drain' by easing visa requirements for workers with STEM skills, reports say

Zahra Tayeb   

The US plans to capitalize on a Russian 'brain drain' by easing visa requirements for workers with STEM skills, reports say
  • The Biden administration wants highly educated Russians to come to the US, according to Bloomberg.
  • A proposed strategy aims to relax visa requirements for Russians with a degree in STEM fields.

The Biden administration plans to capitalize on the exodus of highly educated citizens from Russia, according to Bloomberg.

Individuals with knowledge of the strategy told the outlet that President Joe Biden seeks to rob Russian President Vladimir Putin of some of his top innovators.

The proposal would work to relax visa requirements for Russians who have obtained a master's or doctoral degree in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) in the US or abroad.

Per Bloomberg, Biden wants to attract Russians with expertise in semiconductors, space technology, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and artificial intelligence, with easier visa rules.

The latest move comes amid a wave of sanctions the US and other Western nations imposed on Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine. The measures, including limiting trade, barring transactions with Russia's central bank, and cutting access to the international payments system SWIFT, are having a "massive" impact on Russia's economy, according to the G7.

The sanctions are also on track to shrink Russia's economy by 15% and wipe out 15 years of growth.

Experts anticipated that highly educated Russians were likely to leave, even without incentives aimed at luring them to other countries. Educated people do not like living in a dictatorship, Oleg Itskhoki, an economics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Insider's Jason Lalljee.

"In the long run, brain drain might be the most important problem for Russia," with regards to its economic future, Nikolai Roussanov, an economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania added.

Biden's proposed strategy will be enacted over a four-year period, per Bloomberg, as the US economy would likely benefit in the long term.

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