The crisis induced by the coronavirus has hit the Serbian diaspora and the Serbian workers abroad hard. Due to less work, lower salaries, but also a large number of “returnees”, Serbia could be left without more than 800 million euro this year.
A large number of Serbian citizens have already returned from abroad in the first months after the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in Europe, and those who remained have fewer jobs and, probably, lower salaries.
A new report from the National Bank of Serbia shows that in the first five months of this year, the foreign remittances in Serbia decreased by 23.8% compared to the same period last year.
At the annual level, if the trend continues, that would mean that Serbia could be left without 833 million euro. Namely, last year, 3.5 billion euro arrived from abroad through remittances.
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The diaspora has long been the biggest “investor” in Serbia because it brought in more money than foreign investors – about 8% of the national GDP. The situation has changed in recent years, but that influx is still significant.
However, this year, the diaspora will not be so generous. At the beginning of May, about 400,000 Serbian citizens rushed back to their homeland because they lost their jobs, primarily in Germany and Austria, but also in the rest of Europe.
Even before that, the remittances recorded a decline due to a big drop in March. Personal money transfers from abroad, from January to May 2020, amounted to 1.05 billion euro, which was 329 million euro less than in 2019.
The NBS explains this decrease as a consequence of the coronarvirus pandemic and its impact on global economic trends, as well as on human mobility. And that is not the case only for Serbia, since the decline in remittances has been recorded globally.
Personal transfers include remittances, pensions and other social benefits, as well as benefits and gifts from abroad, sent to individuals in Serbia.
Traditionally, most of the money comes from Serbian citizens working Germany – a little more than a billion euro in 2019, or one third of all foreign remittances, followed by Switzerland (about 500 million euro) and Austria (290 million euro).
This post is also available in: Italiano