Along with the war in eastern Ukraine being a high-profile crisis, the country is also battling another significant issue, that of the large-scale emigration overseas of its workforce. This loss of human capital is said to undermine the country’s economic development, as well as its democratic consolidation and potentially even its future stability.
Research reveals how emigration of highly skilled professionals especially from developing countries, known as brain drain, may lead to severe damage of their economy, acting as a catalyst triggering socio-political instability and leading to overall weakened institutions. It has also been shown that corruption is one of the major drivers pushing skilled migrants to move from developing countries, such as Ukraine, to developed countries. Much of the current Ukrainian net emigration is thought to be linked to a lack of employment opportunities, along with the ongoing war in the Donbas region and the failure of the country’s political figures to sufficiently rein in on corruption.
A recent survey reveals that 60% of Ukrainian migrant workers wish to go home, which suggests that those living abroad still feel strongly about their homeland. According to the Ukrainian population, it is up to the newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and the political administration, to ensure meaningful improvements in the country are being made and that employment opportunities are created which emigrants may access should they return. Zelensky has also recognised the country’s brain drain predicament, expressing his desire to resolve this and has already put forth several reforms aimed at tackling corruption in the Ukraine.
Students planning to apply for HSPS, as well as those applying to Politics or PPE, can consider the potential social consequences of migration, both from the side of the country being left and from the country receiving migrants, researching and reflecting on the effects of brain drain more generally along with the effectiveness of current policies surrounding the issue designed to minimise its possibly adverse repercussions.