16 January 2018, Tuesday, 17:57

Leanid Zaika: Labour migration becomes national idea


Working abroad has become the only way out for Belarusians.

Economist Leanid Zaika is confident that the number of Belarusians fleeing the country for a better life will grow, he said in an interview with charter97.org.

“Belarus was among main sources of work force in the Soviet Union. The situation has not changed. Thousands used to go to work in Ural region, Kazakhstan, Siberia. Many, unlike representatives of other Soviet republic, remained there forever.

Taking into account the economic situation in the country, labour migration is becoming the national idea, especially for young Belarusians. No normal people will wait for promised 500-dollar salaries after graduation from a university. It’s easier to go abroad and earn more,” Leanid Zaika said.

Belarusians have rather good chances to find a job in Russia. The common labour market of the Customs Union only makes things easier. The economist advises Belarusians to use this opportunity to improve their financial standing during the ongoing experiments with the country’s economy.

“We should give the government and nomenclatura a chance to have their ‘last waltz’. They will run from the country too. Seventy percent of my friends – professors, academics, economists receiving awards from the authorities – have their children working abroad. It’s clear that parents will finally flee the country as their children did,” he says.

This may turn into an “anthropological catastrophe” for the country, Leanid Zaika is confident.

“Look at Belarusian villages and you will see how it may end. Only drunkards and fools will remain. Degradation can be noticed on the faces of some Belarusian officials. If nothing changes, we will need to apply the measures that common in football, when they invite a foreign professional to save the situation,” the economist said.

It should be reminded that according to the statement of Natalya Zhak, a representative of the International Organisation for Migration in Belarus, from 800,000 to 1,200.000 working-age Belarusians work abroad.

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.