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Authorities not interested in returning Ukrainian migrant workers home

Author : Volodymyr Pylypenko

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian labor migrants may face new challenges. At a time when people are forced to seek a better life outside their native country, the authorities are absolutely not concerned with their fate "in a foreign land." Not to mention the return and employment of citizens in their native lands. This, obviously, does not fit into the big "plans" of the reformers
22:48, 17 September 2018

112 Agency

Greetings from Warsaw

Why do Ukrainians massively go abroad? Talented young people, scientists, sportsmen, highly qualified personnel leave to where they see new opportunities for themselves and their children, a stable present and promising future. We have no right to blame anyone. After all, labor migration is a logical reaction to a situation when your motherland does not provide for your basic needs.

Almost the largest number of Ukrainians today moved to neighboring Poland - according to various estimates there are about two million of them. However, even there, the situation is not as optimistic as it seems at first glance.

According to Polish recruiting companies, more and more people from India, Nepal and Bangladesh are applying for jobs in Poland. Only from India this year about 30,000 potential workers agreed to employ there.

Experts argue that the Polish labor market, like the rest of Europe, needs skilled and responsible personnel who would know minimal English and have no bad habits.

But, they note, Ukrainian workers (for reasons unknown to me) do not satisfy these requirements. They say that Ukrainians easily transfer to higher-paid jobs, thereby damaging the employer who worked previously.

With this in mind, employers are looking towards cadres from Asian countries. It is possible that they will gradually displace Ukrainian migrant workers from Poland. And it's not that Ukrainians are working worse, but it is about the excessive supply of cheap labor in the market. Earlier in the media there was information that the Poles are seriously looking to labor migrants from Southeast Asia, in particular from Vietnam.

According to unofficial data, the number of Vietnamese in Poland ranges from 40 to 60 thousand people. Approximately 20 thousand of them have a permanent residence permit. Many adopted Catholicism. This ethnic group is well organized, they have their own political organizations, newspapers, schools and kindergartens. In particular, in Warsaw, almost all fast food establishments have been controlled by Vietnamese for many years.

It is interesting that for the Ukrainian authorities, judging by the statements of their representatives, this trend is absolutely not alarming. As it is not alarming the personnel hunger, which can very soon cause a collapse in our state. Instead of creating new jobs in Ukraine, increasing the level of social standards, increasing the average salary, offering new opportunities for training and employment for young people, government officials are calling for earning as far from the homeland as possible.

I would not be surprised if, in a patriotic impulse, one of them proposed to abolish the visa-free regime and close the borders - as the only visible variant of combating mass labor migration. Our authorities are truly original. It would be better if there was more common sense and professionalism in them.

Recently, Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan advised labor migrants "to work if not in Ukraine, then in the EU, where they pay more, where it is more comfortable, where there are no risks, that the law enforcement agencies of the aggressor country will arrest you." This is now the state position – go to where people are kind, because we are worried about you! And the fact that the country loses its "brains" is out of context. And is it all so cloudless in the countries of the West? An analysis of the information that has recently come from Poland indicates an increase in negative trends.

After the adoption of the "anti-Bandera" legislation in Poland and the promotion of the campaign around the Volyn tragedy, cases of conflicts with Ukrainians on the basis of interethnic enmity have become more frequent. It is also known about incidents of provocation against the leaders of the local Ukrainian community and even official representatives of the state.

In addition, there have been drawn up the so-called "black lists" of Ukrainian citizens, which have banned of entry to the territory of Poland.

Equally disturbing is the situation with Ukrainian guest workers in Russia, their number is several times larger than in Poland. The escalation of tension in Ukrainian-Russian relations (especially on the eve of the non-prolongation of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation) instills uncertainty in the coming day in them. And the constant intimidation of the persecution by the FSB and the "prophecy" of some "experts" about a full-scale war (in which case Ukrainian citizens are subject to internment), on the one hand, and the real worsening of the attitude of Russians to Ukrainians under the influence of propaganda, on the other, force labor migrants to return home.

It is clear that such a reality further humiliates people who are forced to work abroad to feed their families. In the future this can stimulate people to return to Ukraine. But the question is: what can the state offer them today? Will they not join the ranks of the unemployed, whose number is already breaking records?

I note, according to the State Statistics Service, in Ukraine, the unemployment rate among the economically active population reached 9.5%, or nearly 1.7 million people.

Political anti-liability

Here rhetorical questions arise. In particular, is the exact number of labor migrants who left the country known? And is it possible to consider successful "reforms", which for some reason do not contribute to their return to the homeland?

It is not clear, in particular, what measures are being taken to protect Ukrainian citizens. And most importantly, is there any interest on the part of key political players in returning to Ukraine those who will not vote for them, remembering the reasons that made people unnecessary for their country.

It would be also interesting to hear a plan for a possible (even hypothetical) mass return of labor migrants to Ukraine. Although we, as always, have an obvious gap regarding plans and strategies. Here, most likely, the rule of political anti-responsibility works - "we are guided by the situation." Well, it didn't work with Crimea and Donbas...

If, after all, we do not just make mistakes, but also learn from them, then in the near future Parliament should consider the situation of Ukrainian migrants in Poland and Russia.

Our people deserve not only the protected rights, wherever they are geographically, but also to have a decent life in their native land. And the realization of these rights is the responsibility of our authorities.

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