Young and university-educated people who do not have family commitments are leaving the Czech Republic. The group of emigrants from the Czech Republic is significantly different from that of cross-border commuters (referred to as pendlers), who are typically over 40 and have a lower degree of education, according to research by experts at the SYRI National Institute. The issue of emigration from the Czech Republic has so far received little attention, not least because of the near impossibility of obtaining accurate data, says SYRI economist Martin Guzi.
“We don’t know exactly how many people are leaving the Czech Republic and how many are coming back, because current figures are underestimates,” he says. “Nevertheless, the problem is significant. Those who are leaving are young and university-educated, basically the future of the nation.”
Over 90 percent of emigrants are leaving for countries with better developed economies, where they can put their technical and technological skills to use. They are also attracted by better working conditions and higher wages. Many of these people do highly specialised work and would not be able to find employment in the Czech Republic. Common destinations for Czech emigrants include Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the UK.
The unavailability of exact figures makes a better description of the situation difficult. “We are not able to relate individual data to specific people, and available data represent considerable underestimates,” the researcher points out, before adding that data must be obtained directly from abroad or from health insurance companies. On their return to the Czech Republic from a long-term stay abroad, every citizen must register with an insurance company.
“Another way is to monitor financial flows directed to the Czech Republic from abroad, such as support for family members. The proportion of such operations in the Czech GDP is increasing significantly, while the number of emigrants is not. Indeed, it has significantly decreased since the crisis,” says Guzi. He adds that emigration presents a bigger problem than the number of pendlers who cross borders for work and come back regularly. Pendlers are mostly men between 40 and 50 who do not have a university education. “This represents no risk for the future of the Czech Republic or for demographic development.”