It is officially believed that two and a half million of our compatriots work abroad, but the last study by the State Statistics Service was conducted five years ago, and during this time a lot has changed – both the main vector of migration and its intensity have changed. If previously Ukrainians went to work, first of all, in Russia, then the current domestic and foreign political situation has made its own adjustments. They travel more than before, but mainly to the west – Poland has emerged as the obvious leader. Despite the fact that the visa-free regime with the EU did not in any way affect the procedure for employing Ukrainians in Europe, some states have relaxed their migration laws, and Poland is one of them.
The fall in the value of the national currency has spurred labor migration to the West – over the past year alone, approximately 1.3 million of our fellow citizens received an invitation to work in Poland. This, of course, does not mean that exactly the same number of Ukrainians actually went to work in the neighboring country. Some, having received an invitation, stayed at home, while others managed to obtain permission several times during the year. But, one way or another, the statistics are impressive.
Along with Poland, the top three included Italy and the Czech Republic. When citizens of Ukraine choose a country for labor migration, money is far from the main factor influencing the decision. First of all, our compatriots look at the loyalty of migration legislation. In addition, the specifics of the work are also important. If, for example, in Italy migrants are needed for traditional housework (caring for children or the elderly), and, as a result, mostly women go there, then in Poland the range of possible jobs is wider – from seasonal agricultural work to construction. There are also vacancies in Poland that require higher qualifications – quite a lot of Ukrainian doctors work there. True, they work, most often, as paramedics or ambulance workers – where the Poles themselves are reluctant to go.
The trend is likely to continue. Visa-free travel will play an important role in this, which will help migrant workers overcome the barrier – if not legal, then psychological. Is this dangerous for the local economy? The question is controversial. On the one hand, money earned in the West is essential for the Ukrainian economy. On the other hand, personnel leakage as such is not the best symptom.