The phenomenon of brain drain, which describes the emigration of skilled workers to a more developed country, which in this case would benefit or gain brains, is raising concerns among Western Balkan governments as demographic changes threaten the region.
An analysis by LinkedIn and the World Bank reveals that net migration recorded between 2015 and 2019 in this region has led to significant skills losses, notably in the areas of business and technology, while medicine remains the most affected as the migration crisis of qualified medical personnel continues. deepen, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The same analysis also highlights that the top five skills lost during this four-year period include dentistry, genetic engineering, development tools, medicine and rehabilitation, and web development. Losses in these areas are particularly noted in North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.
The demographic changes that may occur due to brain drain result in an unsatisfactory quality of life for residents. One of the impacts of the Balkan brain drain on quality of life is that the lack of qualified workers, for example in the medical sector, leads to poor or even complete absence of medical services.
Due to the lack of medical personnel, several medical centers in towns and villages in Kosovo, as well as in other Balkan countries, have had to close their doors.
On the other hand, Serbia is heavily dependent on immigration of third-country nationals, as the country faces an “impending demographic disaster”, expecting to lose a quarter of its population by 2050. The main reasons for these changes are the emigration of young people and skilled workers as well as an incredibly low birth rate.
“As long as Serbia remains an unattractive country for potential immigrants, its population will continue to age and decline. » Vladimir Nikitovic, demographer at the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade, speaks to BIRN.
Likewise, Albania ranks first in the Balkans for the highest migration rate – 29 percent, which is a result of the population decline seen in many Albanian cities. For example, 53 percent of Kukës residents left the county, while towns like Fier, Durrës, Vlorë and Shkodra experienced a 15 percent decrease in population over the past decade.
According to Andrea Mićanović, RYCO migration of the Montenegrin population is also increasing, but it is not necessarily linked to financial reasons as is the case of Macedonians and Albanians, but rather to the socio-political situation in the country.
“Among those who migrate from Montenegro, many are engaged in loss-making activities, which, naturally, negatively affects the country’s economy… Those who decide to leave are very often families with children, which indicates the permanent nature of the migrations from Montenegro, which makes this phenomenon even more worrying”, she told SchengenVisaInfo.com.
In an article from SchengenVisaInfo.com, which details the causes of the brain drain in the Western Balkan countries, Fiorella Belciu, spokesperson for the European Commission, stressed that the migration of skilled workers can be beneficial for certain third countries, in particular through circular migration. However, the number of skilled workers as well as the number of nationals from Balkan countries immigrating to the EU continues to increase.