Ed­i­tor’s Note

Kyiv Post Legal Quarterly - - Contents -

Right now, there’s few more press­ing is­sues for busi­nesses in Ukraine than brain drain — the prob­lem of Ukrainian pro­fes­sion­als leav­ing the coun­try in search of bet­ter liv­ing and work­ing con­di­tions abroad.

The term “brain drain” was coined first by the United King­dom’s Royal So­ci­ety as Euro­pean pro­fes­sion­als em­i­grated to North Amer­ica from a Europe ru­ined by World War II. Ukraine’s brain drain to­day is caused by Rus­sia’s war against Ukraine, but it is also caused by a poor econ­omy sapped by per­va­sive cor­rup­tion.

As the pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to shrink, from 45.5 mil­lion in 2013 to to­day’s 42 mil­lion, this na­tional chal­lenge — the out­flow of an es­ti­mated four mil­lion Ukraini­ans work­ing abroad — is hit­ting small lo­cal busi­nesses as well as in­ter­na­tional con­glom­er­ates. That’s not only a prob­lem for the pri­vate sec­tor, but also for Ukraine’s govern­ment, which is fail­ing to cre­ate con­di­tions that will at­tract more in­vest­ment to the coun­try. With the brain drain wors­en­ing, com­pa­nies now fear they won’t be able to hire a qual­i­fied la­bor force, as the Ukraini­ans with the top skills leave for other coun­tries. In 2017, Ukraine saw one of its worst years ever for for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment, draw­ing in only $2 bil­lion.

But the news is not all bad. Some hope that while many Ukraini­ans move abroad, some will come back with new ex­pe­ri­ences and knowl­edge, as well as send money. For ex­am­ple, this year Ukraini­ans work­ing abroad are ex­pected to send back home around $9 bil­lion in re­mit­tances, about the same as last year, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Bank of Ukraine. More­over, the brain drain is an ad­di­tional fac­tor putting pres­sure on law­mak­ers to pass leg­is­la­tion to root out cor­rup­tion, cre­ate a bet­ter stan­dard of liv­ing, and make the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment more at­trac­tive.

Oth­ers are tak­ing up the chal­lenge at home — such as Lviv’s IT In­no­va­tion Park, a project that has at­tracted $150 mil­lion in in­vest­ment to bring IT pro­fes­sion­als to the city. And even if the out­flow of Ukrainian pro­fes­sion­als con­tin­ues, Ukraine can still open its doors to work­ers from other coun­tries, who will bring more cul­tural di­ver­sity and ex­pe­ri­ence to the coun­try — a brain gain.

All of our con­tacts are avail­able on­line at http://www.kyiv­post.com/con­tacts/

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