Tijana Dušej Ristev, BBC journalist August 1, 2019
After graduating from the Medical Faculty in Belgrade, Vera Negović from Vrnjačka Banja started learning German. She and her spouse was making plans to move to this country, where she hopes to be able to do the job she was educated for. “The cost of living is almost the same in Serbia and Germany, but salaries are higher there,” Vera told the BBC in Serbian. She worked several jobs after studying in Belgrade and she has been “at the bureau” for five years and she lives in her hometown. Although she reports regularly, the National Employment Service did not call her with any job recommendation.”I waited long enough. They keep saying that we have lack of staff, and here I am without a job for so long, “says Vera. She is aware that it will not be easy for her in the beginning, but she also says that doctors in Serbia are paid 500-600 euros a month, and there they are paid four to five times more. People from the rural parts of Serbia, like Vera, more and more often decide to live in foreign countries, than in Belgrade or some other larger city, shows Faculty of Geography research on population migrations.
- Faculty of Geography research conducted on a sample of 3,000 people: 46% of respondents support moving abroad
- OSCE data say that 654,000 people left Serbia between 2000 and the beginning of the 20th century
- Most young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are left
It's easier "over the board"
The research conducted by the Faculty of Geography, among other things, states that it is no longer a trend for only highly educated young people to migrate. “The availability of information is great thanks to the Internet, so even less educated individuals find it easier to find that it is not so difficult to find a place for yourself in Frankfurt, Milan, Vienna, Zurich, Paris,” Dr. Petar Vasic from the Faculty of Geography told the BBC in Serbian.
He also states that population migrations for the Balkans are normal. “Strong migrations are characteristic for this region. Also, there has been a constant replacement of the population with migration, “Doc. Petar Vasic from the Faculty of Geography told the BBC in Serbian. He explains that this is why there is almost no person in Serbia today who does not have a close relative or friend abroad.” That makes them easier to move abroad “, says Vasić.
During 2018, 122.193 people changed their place of residence, ie permanently moved from one place to another, according to a written answer for the BBC in Serbian from the Republic Bureau of Statistics. However, the institute does not have data on how many people migrate abroad.
„They’re just whining about how scary it is here”
Dajana Nikolić from Smederevska Palanka is studying architecture in Niš, but plans to continue her education in Vienna. She says that she has not yet been in a situation where Serbia has disappointed her, but that she believes that something like that is surely waiting for her. “I was in America during the summer, I worked, I saw that life, salary and standard are better. “I know that is not the case here,” Diana told the BBC in Serbian. She adds that these better living and working conditions make people happier and more satisfied. “And that is not the case here. They are just whining here,” Nikolic says.
Vasic believes that others who leave the country think similarly. He says that it is enough just to look at the difference in average salaries between cities in the rural parts of Serbia and foreign salaries.
“That’s how you put, an individual to faced with a particularly not difficult choice in whether he will look for a job in Kraljevo, Leskovac, Cacak, Sabac, Zrenjanin, Smederevo or somewhere abroad,” says Vasic. they do not go abroad for the sake of existence, because “they want to live in a certain environment and orderly system, but also to provide children with life with far more options and better education.” “Local-patriotic feelings are getting weaker, which significantly facilitates the decision to move abroad,” Vasic believes.
The solution is not in sight
Considering that almost half of the people in the research expressed their intention to leave the country for non-economic reasons, there is no quick solution for this situation. “Certainly, as living standards rise, emigration should subside, but non-economic reasons are a far bigger problem,” Vasic said, adding that it would probably be decades before non-financial reasons began to wane.
Smaller place – a life with less stress
However, there are other examples.
Vojin Klickovic was born in Belgrade, grew up there, studied and worked for several years. Then he got a good business opportunity from a company in Kragujevac. “For me, this job is primarily a career leap, and on the other hand, without the support of my wife and family, I would not have decided to take such a step,” Klickovic told the BBC in Serbian. in Kragujevac, they came from Nis, Negotino, Zajacar, Svilajnac. “A lot of them accepted the job because of better living conditions, a calmer environment, lower living costs,” says Vojin. He noted that the absence of good and experienced staff is particularly pronounced in smaller communities, precisely because of large migrations, and that large companies operating in smaller places in Serbia are forced to find qualified people often from Belgrade.