The fears of the countries in the region that workers leaving for other countries due to higher wages could become a mass occurrence have been confirmed by the IMF, which warns that a massive migration has just begun in our region.
At the same time, the IMF is concerned that the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe cannot solve this problem by increasing wages alone, but that serious economic reforms are needed that will require a great deal of work.
Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, has predicted that Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine will experience the biggest drop in their workforce, more than 30% over the next 30 years, while in Slovakia or Serbia the workforce could decline by 20%.
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Solutions to this problem exist and they include retiring at a later age, encouraging women and older workers to enter the labour market and closely follow technological progress.
The question, however, is whether the Serbian economy and citizens can fulfil these requirements. The economist Aleksandar Stevanovic points out that the situation with the labour force in Serbia is worrying and that, unfortunately, there are still no adequate reactions.
“One possibility is to activate the entire population to work, those over 60 years of age and women, and to make young people see that it is good to start working even during their studies because the situation is becoming really alarming. Furthermore, it is necessary to reach a national consensus on the pension system because we need understanding between the generations, and this time, it should be in the opposite direction, the old should better understand the young,” said Stevanovic, noting that the implementation of all these measures should begin as soon as possible.
200,000 Serbs emigrated to Germany since 2000
OSCE data reveal that about 654,000 people, mostly young, between the ages of 15 and 24, have left our country since the beginning of this century. They mostly left Serbia for the most developed countries of Western Europe, namely Germany and Austria, but also for Sweden and Norway.
The German Federal Migration Office estimates that in the last two years, more than 51,000 people have arrived in Germany from Serbia, and in the first half of 2018, almost 19,000 workers from Serbia had a residence permit in Germany; 2,000 more than in the same period last year.
Previous estimates have shown that more than 200,000 people have left Serbia since 2000 and that one in three is employed in production, agriculture and construction, one in four in the hotel sector and one in five in the metal industry.
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