20 January 2018, Saturday, 6:13

2.5 million working-age Belarusians unoccupied


Belarusians flee abroad en masse.

From 100,000 to 1,000,000 Belarusians work outside the country, various estimates show. Most of them left the country because they cannot have a decent life in Belarus. How does it threat to the Belarusian economy? How does it influence the employment market?

According to the data of the Interior Ministry, 5,779 people left Belarus to work abroad under employment agreements since January to September 2012 (4,565 people YOY), Belorusskie Novosti reports.

It can be said with certainty that the official data do not reflect the reality: only a small part of migrant workers register themselves officially.

The research “Influence of Migration Flows on Socioeconomic Indexes of the Country: Belarusian Experience” by the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, indicated that the outflow of migrant workers from Belarus is 30 times higher the official labour migration and can be estimated at 150,000 people per year.

According to the official data and expert estimates, 85-90% of migrant workers choose Russia. This country is preferred by people from small and medium towns, while Minsk dwellers go to western countries.

The greater part of migrant workers are young people from 25 to 35 years old.

Natallya Zhak, a representative of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Belarus, the number of working-age Belarusians abroad is from 800,000 to 1,200,000 people. “It does not mean they left the country forever and will not return there,” the expert notes. “They go abroad, return, go to seasonal works and return again. This is seasonal migration.”

The mass outflow of Belarusians can indirectly be proved by statistics: the number of registered employees in January—September decreased by 81,900 to 3,374,000 people, which is 97.6% of last year's number for the same period.

According to the results of the 2009 population census, the number of working-age population in Belarus considerably increases the number of working people – over 5.8 million people, or 62% of the country's population. Almost 2.5 million of working-age Belarusians are unoccupied in Belarus's economy. The difference between the number of employed people and the number of people of working age was smaller in January 2012 – about 1.3 million people.