«Izvestia»: Sergei Arbuzov. People for export

«Izvestia»: Sergei Arbuzov. People for export

5 July 2016

Chairman of the Association "Center for Research into Economic and Sociocultural upward enhancement of CIS countries, Central and Eastern Europe" Sergei Arbuzov speaks about outflow of labor force from Ukraine and its possible consequences. 

According to UN data, last year Ukraine shared with Pakistan the 6th place in terms of foreign expat communities. In 2015 the number of Ukrainians living abroad amounted to six million. Other countries with large number of expatriates include India (16 million people), Mexico (12 million), Russia (11 million), China (10 million), Bangladesh (7 million), Pakistan (6 million) - countries with incomparably larger population. Pakistan's population, for  example, is four times bigger than of Ukraine, but the number of migrants is the same.

Many social surveys prove that the number of people considering leaving abroad keeps growing. Thus, according to a survey held this year by Gorshenin's Institute, a third part of Ukrainians do not  see any future in their country.

Economic crisis and devaluation have reduced the price of Ukrainian labor migrants, and many foreign countries do not hide their growing demand for cheap workers. Czech Republic, for example, openly shows its interest in Ukrainian doctors and nurses, building engineers, electricians, mechanics, IT specialists. Israel is ready to officially employ Ukrainian builders. The number of Ukrainians working in Poland is so big that they start establishing trade unions. 

Among labor migrants there are young, active and educated people. And not a sure bet that they will come back. Ukrainians now replace Poles and Czechs, who left for Germany and England. 

Such situation is very alarming for Ukraine. It proves a long-term and stable tendency of man power outflow. Ukraine is turning into a country-exporter of labor force.

At first it may seem profitable for the  government, as it lessens the burden on the internal market and increases inflow of foreign currency.

Remittance in 2015 made 6% of GDP. Ukraine ranked among such countries as Latvia (same 6%), Lithuania (4%) and Azerbaijan (2%), considering that these countries have already made it through the period of mass outflow of citizens: in Baltic countries people were leaving for Europe, and in Azerbaijan - for Russia and Turkey.

But the tendency persists, Ukraine may join the ranks of countries, which rely on remittance, like Uzbekistan (9%)   , Georgia (12%), Armenia (18%) and Tajikistan with its record level of 37%. Such dependence on remittance may result into a catastrophe, and Tajikistan's example last year is a proof of it. 

But we must take into account that budget revenues lessen with it, while the burden of subsidies grows instead (families of illegal migrants use such pensions on a massive scale).

Moreover, outflow of man power means  loss of its quality (Ukraine loses young and educated people), no prospects of creating new businesses and jobs. As a result, nil prospect for the country.

Source: «Izvestia», June 30, 2016

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Sergey Genadievich Arbuzov
The Chairman of Association
Grinberg Ruslan Semyonovich
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