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Emigration – to Stay or to Leave Bulgaria

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Emigration – to stay or to leave Bulgaria

More than a decade has passed since the peak of emigration from Bulgaria following communism's fall, but many of the country's most enterprising and best-educated young are still keen to seek a life abroad. And that is one of the most serious problems Bulgaria faces last few years. 12,1 % of the whole Bulgarian population or 937 341 people live in foreign countries. According to the World Bank this number of emigrants now is much higher, because the last information about the problem dates back to one or two years ago.

Motives to migrate can be either incentives attracting people away, known as pull factors, or circumstances encouraging a person to leave, known as push factors, for example:

|Push factors |Pull factors
|Economic reasons |Higher incomes
|Disappointment with Bulgaria |Better availability of employment
|Career development |Better medical facilities
|Adventure/change and curiosity |Better education facilities
|Relatives abroad |Political stability
|Political reasons |Religious tolerance
|Ethnic and cultural reasons, etc. |National prestige, etc.

As we see the dominating motives for external migration are rather economic, relating to a desire for living and working in a country with a higher standard of living, devoid of material problems. The traditionally low pay of highly-qualified personnel, and their considerably higher earnings in developed countries, has provided a strong motive for emigration. As a result of this, Bulgaria has lost large segments of highly qualified specialists and workers as well. This brain drain affected negatively the Bulgarian community. The deficit of economists, teachers and engineers in the country becomes an additional predicament to the economic development of Bulgaria.

If these people go to other countries just for a short-term job or looking for a better education, and come back to Bulgaria in couple of years, it is not such a problem. On the contrary our country will only gain positives from this emigration. Because these people will have obtained international experience, professional and managerial skills, which they will use in Bulgaria afterwards.

But when we talk about a long-term emigration, the situation is much different and definitely there is a problem. Our country will remain without its highly qualified people. Unfortunately a lot of people have already left Bulgaria with no desire to come back. That is why something has to be done to dissuade all these people from leaving our country.

Me, personally have no intentions to leave Bulgaria, because I belong here and I know that I can help my country with my knowledge, motivation and qualification. I will stay in Bulgaria to live here, to work here, to raise my family here.

But my thoughts and actions will not change the situation much. The management and control of emigration processes are a key priority of the Bulgarian Government. This is the institution which has to take action. So, one of the things it should do is to establish channels for better coordination of policies concerning emigration. An efficient tool in that direction will be the establishment of a State Agency dealing with emigration. The establishment of such an agency will help the creation of a unified information system for monitoring emigration processes as well as of the practical implementation of all emigration regulation rules.

The next step has to be orientated more towards strengthening the administrative structure, as well as towards investing in education, training and the necessary human and technical resources for controlling and regulating the emigration processes. The Government should motivate its State officials by increasing their salaries. It should stimulate employers to open work places for young graduates, unemployed single parents, youth from the orphanages. It should also stimulate employers to open work places for training and professional qualification and/or internship for unemployed up to 29 years old.

Last, but not least, the Government should increase the feeling of security of the citizens in their own country, thereby diminishing their desire for emigration.…...

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