Few Slovaks return from abroad

In December 2015, more than 300,000 Slovaks worked abroad and only a few of them wish to return, the TASR newswire wrote.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Higher salaries and more prosperity and order in Slovakia were the only things that could lure them home according to a survey by the Business Alliance of Slovakia (PAS). The annual brain drain is continuing, PAS stated, with the number of citizens working in another country either short term or long term increasing each year. Apart from the 300,000 Slovaks working abroad, 30,000 more are studying in a foreign country, mostly in the Czech Republic, but recently also in Germany and Austria. 

PAS asked why they live abroad and what would motivate them to come back. PAS said it is alarming that less than one-quarter of those studying abroad plan to live in Slovakia while a mere 9 percent of those working plan to return home, with 70 percent plan to stay abroad. 

While many companies in Slovakia have been searching for months to find new workers, even for unqualified jobs, tens of thousands of Slovaks leave for abroad, many of whom will only return for brief visits. PAS said Slovakia loses – especially with students and fresh graduates – future long-time active contributors to social, health-care and pension funds who had previously benefited from health care, social care and studies financed by the state, PAS reported. 

Health insurers’ statistics show that since 2009 almost 30,000 young people under 30 years of age have left the country each year. At the end of the 1990s, about 80,000 children a year were born, meaning that almost one-third of the young population has been leaving Slovakia annually, PAS found. 

The survey showed that both groups could be attracted back home by salary increases, while other strong arguments include family situations, and “order and prosperity in Slovakia”. Financial stimuli, expected by the government to attract Slovaks back home, found no significant interest and was attractive for only a few percent of the Slovaks living abroad. 

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