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Hurting Euro Economies May Lose Young And Talented To Emigration

Economically strapped countries may pay an additional price in the loss of young skilled workers to booming economies abroad.
By Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 4/10/2012, 11:40 PM

Madrid Employment Bureau
Madrid Employment Bureau
Reuters

The European economic crisis is beginning to shape emigration patterns.

Everything is relative - and while people from third world countries are still doing their best to get in, within the EU the story is different.

In struggling countries, the young and skilled - who are the most mobile - are moving abroad because they do not have the patience to wait around till the economies right themselves. At the same time that Western Europeans emigrate outside the EU, Eastern Europeans continue to migrate to Western Europe that still appears to offer a better world than the countries that they have left behind.

In Eastern Europem populations have shrunk significantly, leaving behind an aged population, particularly in rural areas. There are less young workers to support an aging population. The flipside of the coin is that many of these work emigrants send back remittances that help boost the economies of the countries that they left.

As the United States is coping with unemployment, it is no longer the magnet; the big boom countries are Australia and New Zealand. Australia has a manpower shortage and therefore is making a serious pitch for Irish migrants. Irish manpower in Australia is helping to spur the mining and construction industries and the country has become the contemporary United States for the Irish. The fact that the immigrants are educated and English speakers makes for a softer landing.

Irish immigration is accelerating. When the Irish boom, built on real estate, crashed in 2008, it took people a while to realize that things had taken a serious turn for the worse and were not going to get better quickly. Additionally, despite cuts, Irish welfare benefits were fairly generous, meaning that only those who were confident of finding new jobs were enthusiastic about emigrating. However, the 2011 emigration figures were 17% over the 2010 figures and the numbers are approaching 100,000 a year.

Command of the language of the target country makes things easier and therefore just as the Irish head for Australia, the Spanish head for Latin America - and in a striking reversal, Portuguese head for Angola, Portugal's mineral-rich former colony that needed to rebuild itself after a civil war. The Portuguese population there increased between 2008 to 2011 from 20,000 to 130,000.

Although growth in India has slowed, an estimated 300,000 Indians employed overseas will return to their mother country.

There are still immigrants who are willing to brave the language barrier and countries that welcome them. Germany has attracted immigration from Europe, no longer just the menial workers but specialists as well. The healthy German economy is responsible for this migration pattern.

Although Britain is undergoing economic difficulty, it has a growing French population. This was highlighted during the 2007 campaign, when Nicolas Sarkozy made a campaign stop in London in a bid to influence the sizable French community. London has an estimated 400,000 French citizens and has been referred to jokingly as France's 6th largest city. Frenchmen in London cite the British capital as more business- friendly than France and therefore more conducive to individual success.