Crisis Stems Outflow of Bulgarian Migrant Workers toward EU

Bulgaria in EU | December 5, 2011, Monday // 13:50|  views

A survey of OSI-Sofia has registered declining appeal of emigration for Bulgarian workers as a result of the ongoing financial crisis. Photo by BGNES

The fact that some EU countries still impose restrictions on access to their labor market for Bulgarian citizens means only one thing: that these people will spend more time there working illegally.

The conclusion is part of the "Bulgarian Labor Migration: Do Restrictions Make Sense" report of the Open Society Institute - Sofia published by Capital daily on Monday.

The study conducted by OSI–Sofia indicates that Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom have been the main recipient countries for Bulgarian emigrants in the European Union over the past 10–15 years.

The list of the most popular destinations for migrant workers from Bulgaria includes countries which lifted labor restrictions in 2007, like Spain, as well as others, like Germany, which will keep the limitations in force for the maximum possible period, until 2014.

According to the survey, there has been no difference in the flow of Bulgarian migrants to Spain and Germany after Bulgaria's accession to the EU on January 1, 2007.

The report of the Sofia-based think tank suggests that the appeal of emigration has been gradually declining for Bulgarians due to the fact that its unemployment rate is now comparable to Western European levels.

At the same time, OSI-Sofia notes that differences in income have decreased: in the 1990s per capita income in Western Europe was 4 times higher than that in Bulgaria, while one decade later this ratio is 2.5 measured by purchasing power parity.

The study identifies hotel and tourism, domestic work, care serv­ices, construction and trade as the main employment sectors for Bulgarian labor emi­grants.

The think-tank also notes that 2009 interviews with Bulgarian workers in the United Kingdom highlight agriculture as another important start-up sector.

OSI-Sofia also compares statistics on remit­tances received in Bulgaria,EUR 596.8 M, and FDI data, EUR 534.5 M, as recorded by the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) for the period January-September.

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Tags: Open Society Institute Sofia, work restrictions, labor market, remittances, FDI, migrant workers


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