The number of international visa applications to leave Russia has skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is estimated that more than 200,000 people have fled the country since February, with many observers calling it a “brain drain.” And while 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 so, visa attorneys can be notoriously slow and expensive.
Now a new startup hopes to cash in on this flight from Russia and former CIS states associated with the Putin regime.
London-based Immigram is an immigration platform for tech professionals and entrepreneurs that has now raised $500,000 in a funding round led by Xploration Capital. Also participating was Mikita Mikado, a founding Belarusian immigrant in the US and СEO of PandaDoc, Joint Journey Ventures, and a group of angel investors. Immigram is also supported by Hatchery, a start-up incubator run by University College London.
Immigram’s idea is to build a B2B SaaS platform that allows employers to attract and retain international talent by guiding them through the entire relocation process. This is from applying for a relevant visa to finding an apartment and getting a bank account. The platform claims to combine legal advice with technological processes to “automate immigration”.
The core of the idea is Immigram’s scoring system, which is geared towards the UK’s global talent visa. Since its launch earlier this year, Immigram says it has helped 150 clients relocate. This would probably be much slower through a traditional attorney.
Immigram also provides a B2C solution. Unlike traditional law firms that charge by the hour, Immigram says it offers flat rates, costs 50% less, and issues refunds in the event an application is unsuccessful. So far he says it has 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 founders Anastasia Mirolyubova and Mikhail Sharonov, who moved to the UK from Russia several years ago, came up with the idea that is based on the UK’s growing focus on the business and technical aspects of apps rather than the technical aspects. legal.
The United States could 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 are building the product around the immigrant, not around a particular country. The global talent shortage amounts to 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 throughout the entire journey and help them find a community of like-minded people anywhere,” said Anastasia Mirolyubova, CEO and co-founder of Immigram in a statement. .
“We are now at a very particular moment in history when countries begin to compete for people. Immigram facilitates that process by helping professionals fully realize their ambition on a global scale,” added Igor Kim, Managing Partner of Xploration Capital.
Immigram will compete with companies like Jobbatical or Localyze, but these normally do not have access to CIS markets and focus mainly on the EU workforce.
Immigram now also offers a special service to talented Ukrainian IT specialists moving to the UK through the Global Talent route.