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17.12.2008

Crisis driving migrant workers home

   

Experts predict that around 200 thousand Ukrainian migrant workers may return from abroad. The State Committee of Statistics says that over 1.5 million Ukrainians are presently working in other countries.  The question is whether there will be enough work for them.

The same data show that around five percent of the able-bodied population are working abroad, half of these in Russia, and the other half in European Union countries. Most of them give the low level of pay in Ukraine as their reason for going abroad, yet in Europe also, due to the crisis, it’s also getting harder and harder to get work.

Director of the Institute for Economic Research and Political Consultation, Ihor Burakovsky predicts that from New Year there will be large-scale return of Ukrainian construction and seasonal workers.  In fact though, he believes, it will be extremely difficult for these people to find work in Ukraine.

“There are some vacancies remaining which are low-paid, they could be filled by the migrants. Obviously these people have some savings. That will give them some time to live on the money they earned abroad.”

At the same time the EU is aware of the likelihood of large numbers of migrants returning home.  According to the General Director on Labour Migration for the European Commission Diederich Paalamn: “Over the next months we will submit three draft laws to Brussels aimed at protecting the rights of migrants. These are laws on internal migration, seasonal migrant workers and legislative proposals for those on work practice here. This package of documents should make work in EU countries attractive. Mr Paalman advises Ukrainians to make use of these initiatives.

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