As Russians head for exits, Immigram platform launches to scale labor migration – TechCrunch

The number of requests for international visas to leave Russia has exploded following the invasion of Ukraine by this country. It is estimated that since February more than 200,000 people have fled the country, with many observers calling it a “brain drain”. And although it is possible to apply for normal visas abroad, the reality is a slow and difficult process. At the same time, most countries now have talent-based professional visa programs – but even then, visa lawyers can be notoriously slow and expensive.

Now a new startup hopes to capitalize on this flight from Russia and former CIS states associated with Putin’s regime.

Immigram, based in London, is an immigration platform for tech professionals and entrepreneurs that has now raised $500,000 in a funding round led by Xploration Capital. Mikita Mikado, a Belarusian immigrant founder in the United States and CEO of PandaDoc, Joint Journey Ventures, and a group of angel investors also participated. Immigram is also supported by Hatchery, a startup incubator run by University College London.

Immigram’s idea is to build a SaaS B2B platform enabling employers to attract and retain international talent by guiding them through the relocation journey. This ranges from applying for the relevant visa to finding an apartment and obtaining a bank account. The platform claims to combine legal advice with technological processes to “automate immigration”.

At the heart of the idea is Immigram’s scoring system which is tailored to the UK Global Talent Visa. Since launching earlier this year, Immigram says it has helped 150 clients move. It would probably be much slower via a traditional attorney.

Immigram also provides a B2C solution. Unlike traditional law firms that charge by the hour, Immigram says it offers fixed prices, costs 50% less and issues refunds if an application fails. So far, it is reported to have been used by executives from Google, Meta, Twitter, Revolut, Bumble, and Yandex, as well as founders and alumni of Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Techstars.

Immigram’s founders – Anastasia Mirolyubova and Mikhail Sharonov – who both moved to the UK from Russia several years ago and came up with the idea which is based on the UK’s growing emphasis on aspects commercial and technical applications rather than the legal aspects.

The United States may soon introduce a similar option as well. In January 2022, the House Rules Committee introduced a bill creating a temporary visa for foreign-born entrepreneurs.

“We build the product around the immigrant, not a particular country. The global talent shortage stands at 40 million skilled workers right now, and it’s already affecting immigration laws and pushing developed countries to establish new talent visa programs. Our goal is to build an end-to-end global mobility platform that will guide people through the journey and help them find a community of like-minded people anywhere,” said Anastasia Mirolyubova, CEO and co. -founder of Immigram in a press release. .

“We are now at a very special moment in history when countries start to compete for peoples. Immigram facilitates this process by helping professionals to fully realize their ambition on a global scale,” added Igor Kim, Managing Partner at Xploration Capital.

Immigram will compete with companies such as Jobbatical or Localyze, but these normally do not have access to CIS markets and mainly focus on EU-based labour.

Immigram is also now offering a special service for talented Ukrainian IT specialists to move to the UK via the Global Talent route.

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