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Duma set to deter graduates from taking jobs abroad

The Russian parliament is to draw up proposals to impose restrictions on the employment of graduates of national universities abroad, with the aim of preventing further brain drain out of the country.

It is planned that these restrictions will mainly involve imposing financial sanctions on graduates of Russian universities who studied int state-funded places at Russian colleges and universities and did not pay for their education.

There is also a possibility that these graduates will be barred from holding top public positions.

The list of other restrictions will be announced later this month.

Nikolai Bulaev, a member of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, who is pushing for the measures, said the departure of graduates of Russian universities abroad damages the national economy and could be considered an investment in the economies of foreign countries, in particular Western states.

Bulaev said the issue is “very pressing” and is set to be discussed in the Russian parliament in the coming weeks.

"We need some legislative initiatives in order to prevent further brain drain out of the country."

Bulaev's initiative has already received support in the Russian State Duma.

According to an official spokesperson of the Duma, one of the main indicators of the efficiency of university education is the percentage of employed graduates, but it is currently unclear how to count students who have gone abroad after graduation.

Data from the Russian Ministry of Education and Science suggests that about 15% of graduates of Russian universities find a job abroad each year.

Alena Arshinova, deputy chairman of the Committee on Education of the Russian State Duma, said planned restrictions will not involve the introduction of a direct ban on the employment of Russian graduates abroad, but will instead introduce legal commitments to pay back funds spent by the state for their education using taxpayers' money.

Arshinova has also added that Russia should more actively use the practice of educational loans, which is widely employed in Western countries.

Proposals criticised

In the meantime, the proposals have already been criticised by some leading Russian analysts in the field of higher education

Artyom Khromov, Russia’s students' ombudsman, said the government should not punish graduates and prohibit their employment in Western countries, but instead adopt the best international practice in this field.

Khromov said: "The initiative will be contrary to the international practices in this field.”

He said that the national government and businesses pay insufficient attention to the employment of graduates in Russia, which forces them to seek jobs abroad.

“The governments of France and Canada use the practice of direct payments and subsidies to those companies that recruit graduates of national universities. At the same time the governments of other countries provide tax incentives to companies to accept students for internships with subsequent employment," he said.

"Such practices should be also implemented in Russia."

He warned that the introduction of the planned changes "may significantly damage Russian universities and their graduates”.

According to data of career.ru, one of Russia’s largest web resources, which monitors the employment of university graduates in Russia, in 2014 up to 77% of college and university graduates in Russia said they would prefer to work and live abroad.
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