Coping with Emigration in Baltic and East European Countries

Coping with Emigration in Baltic and East European Countries You do not have access to this content

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13 Dec 2013
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9789264204928 (PDF) ; 9789264204911 (print)

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The Baltic countries have experienced sustained emigration over the past decade, contributing to population decline and a loss of working-age population. The impact of this emigration is felt strongly in the labour market, the general economy and in social developments. How can countries deal with the impact of high levels of emigration? How to attract back emigrants? How best to benefit from the financial, social and human capital developed abroad? The Baltic countries are not alone in addressing these challenges, and this volume brings together the recent experience of Poland and Romania, as well as a wide range of OECD countries, in developing new policies to cope with emigration.

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  • Foreword

    Emigrants are increasingly seen as a key resource to support long-term economic growth in their countries of origin, not only providing remittances but contributing to development through investment, exchange, and intensification of networks. The worldwide stock of migrants has grown to comprise 3% of the world population, accounting for more than 232 million people in 2013. The notion of "diaspora" often includes descendants of migrants and more generally persons who maintain ties of some kind with a specific country of origin in relation to their migration background. This makes a broad pool of resources on which countries can draw.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    The three Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have seen constant net emigration over the past decade. Net emigration over the 2000s was equivalent to almost 6% of the population in Estonia, 9% in Latvia and 13% in Lithuania. While this served as a safety valve in a time of poor employment opportunities and led to high levels of remittances, the longer term implications appear less positive: smaller working-age population, loss of educated youth, and skills shortages. A substantial diaspora has formed abroad, and these countries are starting to develop policies for interacting with these recent emigrants, many of whom are not expected to return definitively, to allay the economic and social impact of their departure. Other European countries are facing similar circumstances, especially Poland and Romania; in Romania, population fell by 7% over the decade largely due to emigration. The negative demographic situation in these countries – low fertility and ageing populations – exacerbates the impact of emigration. The experience of OECD countries with longstanding diasporas points the way to some innovative responses, if not to large-scale return.

  • Emigration from the Baltic States: Economic impact and policy implications

    This chapter analyses the extent and contexts of Baltic migration flows, and sketches a profile of Baltic emigrant populations. The potential economic impact of high negative net migration on these countries is addressed, along with relevant findings from Poland and Romania. Policy strategies and initiatives taken by Baltic States and other emigration countries are presented and discussed. The chapter concludes by identifying areas requiring further research in matters pertaining to rising emigration, its economic impact and the conditions under which diaspora policies contribute to the economic development of home countries.

  • Emigration from Estonia: Recent trends and economic impact

    This chapter analyses the general demographic trends causing concern in Estonia: decreasing population and increasing emigration flows, especially among those of working age. The implications of accession to the European Union and the gradual opening of European labour markets are assessed, in terms of the characteristics of emigrants. The profile of emigrants is explored (age, education, etc.). Possible economic implications of emigration are discussed, in light of data limitations. Government policy in the area is described, as well as specific initiatives to favour return.

  • The social and economic impact of emigration on Lithuania

    This chapter examines migration flows from Lithuania, historically a country with significant emigration. The changing characteristics of this migration since 1990 and their relationship to economic conditions in Lithuania and EU accession are examined. The distinction between declared and undeclared migration is explored. The impact of the 2008-11 economic crisis on migration is described, including its impact on return migration and choice of destination country. The chapter examines the changing characteristics of emigrants, in terms of their age and family situation as well as their education level and employment status. The effect of remittances is discussed, and the chapter concludes with a review of policy responses in Lithuania.

  • Emigration from Latvia: Recent trends and economic impact

    This chapter examines the substantial outflows of population from Latvia since 2000, which has major implications for the demography and development of Latvia as well as its social security system. Different statistical sources are described and compared. The chapter examines the characteristics of emigrants relative to the resident population, in terms of education, age, employment experience and income. The chapter examines the relationship between growth and emigration, as well as emigration potential, exploring the role of non-economic factors. The changing characteristics of emigrants from Latvia are discussed. The current and future impact of emigration on the labour market is examined. The chapter concludes by indicating some means for alleviating negative impact.

  • Matching the skills of return migrants to labour market needs in Poland

    The chapter looks at the phenomenon of recent return migration to Poland with special emphasis on the labour market performance of returnees. The chapter examines the post-2004 migration in terms of its characteristics, including the extent to which it has been temporary migration, and assesses the share of the population with migration experience. Differences between migrants and those without migration experience are examined, and a distinction is made returning migrants who left before or after 2004. The impact of migration experience on labour market outcomes is examined, including in terms of unemployment and entrepreneurial activity, and some explanation for this impact is provided. The chapter concludes with a discussion of policies to support returning migrants and lessons from these programmes.

  • Mobilising migrants skills and resources in Romania

    This chapter focuses on Romanian labour migration, its effects on origin and destination labour markets, and its impact on social and economic development, as well as on pressing demographic issues, such as population ageing. The chapter then examines the effect of departure of Romanian workers on unemployment and its relation to economic restructuring. The educational characteristics of Romanian migrants are examined in terms of destinations, occupations and employment sector. The main policy initiatives to address emigration and support return are described, in terms of features and the actors implementing them. The chapter concludes by looking at potential future evolution of emigration and its impact on Romania.

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