Are Ukrainian migrant workers returning?


A rise in salaries in Ukraine, as well as inflation with the US dollar, has led to a considerable fall in the number of people seeking work abroad. This applies most to construction workers who can now earn the same at home as in Russia, the Czech Republic or Poland. However the head of the department for migration research of the Institute of Demography Oleksy Poznyak says that we are not yet dealing with a mass return of Ukrainians.

Besides an almost five-times increase in wages over the last five years in Ukraine, a number of firms add social packages to high wages, with these including free lunches and medical insurance. This treatment of workers is due to a construction boom in the country over several years.

Another reason for the decrease is that the widening of the Schengen Zone which makes it much harder to get visas for those European countries. A number of countries have over recent times changed their attitude to migrant workers and official work permits are often needed.

According to the Institute of Sociology, at present around 2.5 million Ukrainian nationals are legally working abroad.  The largest percentage is from Western Ukraine (36.8%); Central and Eastern regions make up 26.4% and 21.4% respectively, and Southern regions – 15.4%

Ukrainians most often seek work in Russia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain, Israel and the USA. The professions most in demand include: construction workers; sailors; drivers; agriculture and others. Women continue to work in the service sphere. It is frustrating that according to statistics only 10% of labour migrants start their own business on their return to Ukraine.

Based on information at

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