We hear so many discussions about the fact that Ukrainians are leaving their country and going abroad. At the same time, very often these discussions are conducted without specifying real figures and facts, only on emotions. But in reality, it is possible without any problems to track the real dynamics of the Ukrainian citizens' migration to the EU and conclude what will happen next.
For your information: in January-October 2018, Ukraine received private currency transfers in the amount of about $ 13.5 billion, which is many times more than all foreign investments that came to Ukraine during the same period. At the moment, it is the money of the Ukrainian workers which saved the currency market and the economy of Ukraine, and not the mythical investments from foreign investors, and especially the IMF loans. A paradoxical situation has developed in Ukraine this year: the old IMF loans that Yatsenyuk received back in 2014 for "reforms" were repaid with the money of the Ukrainian workers. Therefore, it is not surprising that the export of labor is one of the most important factors of the economy, and it will remain in the coming decades, whether we like it or not.
And now a few words about how many citizens of Ukraine live and work in the EU. For this we use Eurostat data. It is clear that Eurostat data does not take into account illegal migrants, but there are not so many of them as it seems. In fact, the illegal migration of Ukrainians to the EU is not significant, it is another thing that it is believed that there are many of them. In fact, the majority of Ukrainians who live in the EU are legal migrants, especially since the EU migration services treat our people very favorably.
According to Eurostat, in 2017, 661 000 citizens of Ukraine received a residence permit in the EU. At the same time, 580 000 citizens of Ukraine received a residence permit to work in the EU, about 23 000 citizens of Ukraine received a residence permit for the purpose of studying in the EU and the rest for family reasons. It is often said that Ukrainian migrant workers will take away their families, and as a result, everyone will leave for the EU. In fact, the workers living there rarely bring their families to the EU, since living in the EU is more expensive than in Ukraine, and not all of the working people earn a lot. Therefore, the majority of Ukrainian migrants works in the EU, and transfer money to their families in Ukraine. It is more profitable. Because 1000 euros in Ukraine is the real money, and 1000 euros in the EU is a trifle.
As for the dynamics. Eurostat data show that in 2013, 236 000 Ukrainians received a residence permit in the EU, and in 2009 - less than a 100 000. Yes, after Maidan, the trend of Ukrainians leaving for the EU has accelerated. In many ways, this was affected by the economic situation. You can talk about reforms and the European choice for a long time and stubbornly, but when the country’s salary is several times lower than in the EU, and gas prices are the same as in the EU, it is clear that many Ukrainians are simply forced to go to work in the EU to pay utility fees in Ukraine. The paradox in action. But this paradox will exist in Ukraine for a long time.
At the moment there are no factors that indicate that the situation in the economy of Ukraine in the coming decades will change significantly. One can hardly expect a radical growth of the Ukrainian economy without lifting the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land and the reorientation of the economy towards industrial cooperation with the EU. As for the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land, this topic has become the subject of bargaining for political crooks, and, most likely, will not be solved in the coming years, which means there will be no real growth of the Ukrainian economy. As for industrial cooperation with the EU, there are small successes, but very few of them. The association agreement with the EU really gives businesses great opportunities to create a joint business with the EU. But here we can expect the "Turkish experience". At first, the Turks really went to work in the EU, and then, after earning money and finding business partners in the EU, they began to create workplaces in Turkey en masse. There is a high probability that the same will happen in Ukraine. Moreover, many migrant workers say that the main purpose of their work in the EU is to accumulate money to start their own business. But this takes years and years. For now, the export of labor is the basis of the Ukrainian economy.
And finally, a few more numbers. According to Eurostat, as of December 31, 2017, 1 million citizens of Ukraine lived in the EU with a residence permit. Talks about the fact that 5 million Ukrainians live in the EU are not true. Most Ukrainians live in Poland - 451 thousand people, Italy is in second place - 223 thousand people, and the Czech Republic is in third place - 116 thousand Ukrainians. During the period from 2007 to 2017, 42 thousand citizens of Ukraine received EU citizenship. Most Ukrainians became citizens of Hungary and Romania. The EU is reluctant to grant citizenship to residents of Ukraine. But it is ready to grant a residence permit.
And the last figure. According to the Ministry of Labor of Poland, in 2017, 2.2 million citizens of Ukraine worked in Poland as seasonal workers. There is a form of legal work in Poland, when Ukrainians can work without a working visa, but for a period not exceeding 9 months. There are really a lot of people who travel to Poland for seasonal earnings, since you can actually work without visa. Poland violates the EU labor legislation, but the EU leadership closes its eyes to this. In general, this suits both the EU and Poland. These seasonal workers help Poland and the EU to develop the EU economy, pay taxes in the EU, and at the same time sponsor the Ukrainian economy with the money they earn and pay taxes in Ukraine through the VAT mechanism. This is our economy.