sexta-feira, 9 de novembro de 2012

Should I stay or should I go?

Emigration is a human movement from homeland to another, as it is hoped, more economic progressive country. Lithuania is a country of migration and one of the few, where it is common to “send” people to others regions. Talking about last decade, approximately 30 thousand people left Lithuania each year. This number seems dangerous to a country with about 3 million habitants. Let’s look more further to basic reasons why lithuanian people decide to emigrate.
Firstly, the main problem is a high level of unemployment and especially unemployment between young people. That is why the most common emigrants are people from 20 to 29 years old. According data of thr Department of Statistics to the Government of Lithuania, 40.5% of emigrants were young people and more than 50% had a higher education degree in 2010. It happened because the local labour market offers very small opportunities for creating comfortable and desirable future after graduation. Young people emigration caused problems such as: lost of the resources invested in the education of people, lost of specialists, the lack of qualified work force. As if this was not enough, young emigrants are not used to come back to motherland, because they create family, get prospect for improvement in job, better social security conditions abroad. Also, most of emigrants lost their job before departure. According to data, more than 85% of people who left Lithuania in 2010 declared being unemployment for one year or longer.
The second reason, why people might choose to emigrate is the expectation to find a higher paid job in foreign countries. Wages can be five or six times higher in target countries (such as Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Germany or Spain) than in Lithuania. For instance, the national minimum wage rate is £6.19 (26.61 LTL) per hour in Great Britain and it is 5.15 LTL per hour in Lithuania. Although, evaluated the purchasing power of money, can be noticed that the difference is reduced to two or three times. That is why it is expected that living in foreign country provides people with better living conditions and gives more a comfortable life.
Another reason of the emigration of Lithuania is frustration of country's political, law and tax systems. According to data, only 14% of workforce is satisfied with earnings. More than a half (53%) of employees said that the wage is too small to cover all expenses (bills, food, taxes).
The emigration also has origin in a social factors such as social insecurity, lack of justice, unsatisfactory behavior of employers with employees. Although all European Union standards, relating with employee and employer rights and responsibilities, are valid in Lithuania, a number of workers still try to hide their marital problems from employer in order to avoid losing a job.The entry to European Union also had an impact in the increasing of the number of emigration. Talking the data, 28 thousand of habitants left Lithuanian in 2003. This number increased to 40 thounsand in 2004 (Lithuania joined EU) and it jumped to 63 thousand in 2005. Since Lithuania’s admission to the European Union citizens were able to freely move inside Europe, it increased freedom of movement as workers and created better bussiness posibilities abroad. 
The globalization and different economical, political, social situations in foreign countries made substantial influence on the lithuanian's migration turning it massive. One of solution to this problem might be education reform. If universities and institutions of higher education would pay more attention to the economic situation of the country and the needs of labor market, they would conclude that there were more specialists than places to work. The education system has to reduce the amount of students of this field. Also, most of people are keeping feeling disappointment and incredulity of the social policy in the country.
The governments and employers have to ensure the possibilities for people to live, work and create welfare. Of course, it is not easy or even possible to change country’s economy situation in a short time. However, the government might reduce the amount of emigration by adapting trade, investment and aid policies or programs that accelerate economic development and thus make it unnecessary for people to emigrate for jobs and wages.
Karolina Zygmantaitė

[artigo de opinião desenvolvido no âmbito da unidade curricular “Economia Portuguesa e Europeia” do 3º ano do curso de Economia (1º ciclo) da EEG/UMinho]

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