The research titled “Characteristics and attitudes of highly qualified diaspora members and returnees” shows that 56.7% of the Serbian citizens living abroad are more than willing to invest their knowledge, contacts, time and money in Serbia.
The research also shows that more than half of the Serbian diaspora show readiness to collaborate with Serbia, but currently, only 18.6 percent of them have a plan to do something business or otherwise related in Serbia, while others would do so if someone officially asked them or if special conditions were created, with an emphasis on precisely defining the terms of cooperation.
According to the research results, 43.3% of respondents did not show readiness to invest their resources in the development of Serbia, while every fourth Serbian academic living abroad said that they were not able to invest in Serbia’s development. 17.8% did not want to invest in Serbia at all.
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Contrary to the prevailing opinion, and according to the survey results, the respondents underline that the most valuable things that they can invest in Serbia are the knowledge they gained by working in a different social environment and conditions and the friend and business relationships with people in their profession.
Most of the Serbian talent living abroad still have ties to Serbia and are ready to help.
“This research confirms that their still loyal to their homeland. 86 percent of the disaspora support Serbia at all international competitions,” the research show.
The research participants say that the state’s behaviour towards them should not be partial, superficial and bureaucratic in nature, as it is now, but rather they should be partners in order to promote a concrete policy that respects the needs and aspirations of the highly educated diaspora and its partners in Serbia.
As the research points out, the diaspora and returnees require the state to first meet with them and create a database that would be available to all interested parties.
“They also demand that the state administration should be better organized in order to facilitate their investments, that the scientific system should be reformed, and that the education system should be modernized and adapted to market needs”.
The research participants go on to say that, through modern management practices, state structures should create an appropriate environment and provide the necessary resources for developing a partnership between highly educated diaspora and Serbia.
In terms of engagement in economic activity, most respondents are employed (80 percent), followed by students (15.6 percent), while the share of unemployed persons (1.7 percent) and pensioners (2 percent) is much lower.
Most research participants live in the United States (25.2%) and Germany (22.4%), followed by Canada (7.6 percent), Austria and Australia (6.5 percent), and Great Britain (5.7 percent), while the share of survey participants from other countries is less than five percent.
The survey, which involved 353 highly educated people, was commissioned by the Centre for Life – For More of Us Out There” in cooperation with the minister in charge of demography and population policy and the State Statistical Office.
(Vecernje Novosti, 16.01.2019)
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