Serbia loses 1.2bn euro from brain drain annually

Brain drain is costing Serbia up to 1.2 billion euro a year, the Institute for Development and Innovation said at Wednesday’s presentation of its survey on the cost of Serbian youth emigration.

The survey was conducted with the support of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.  

The survey authors say that the direct cost of the brain drain is reflected in the loss of investments in education. According to the report, the cost of a four-year high school education which ended in 2018 stood at some 21,000 euro per student while the cost of an eight-year elementary school education cost some 13,500 euro per pupil.  

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The poll data showed that educating students to university diploma level, from elementary through high school to university cost the state close to 34,000 euro per student. The average cost of educating a doctor is around 55,000 euro. When those costs are multiplied by the number of young people leaving the country, the expense for the government stands at between 0.3 and 1.2 billion euro a year.  

“In comparison, the total exports of the IT-communications services industry in 2018 stood at 1.1 billion euro, while the total exports of the agriculture sector, on a good year, stands at around 900 million euro,” the survey authors said.  

The loss amounted to about 2.1 per cent of the GDP in 2018.

On the positive side, remittances from the people who emigrated amount to between five and six per cent of the GDP and serve to generate future development and growth. According to the share of remittances from abroad in the national GDP, Serbia is at the top of the European countries, along with Albania, with the share of between five and six per cent of the GDP.

According to the survey authors, there are no precise records of migration from Serbia but the OECD estimated in its report that close to 245,000 people have left Serbia between 2012 and 2016.

This entails that, according to the estimates of this organization, about 49,000 people emigrated annually from Serbia to OECD member countries, which includes so-called temporary migrations.

(N1, 27.03.2019)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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