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Are 1.2 Million Hungarians Really Planning To Work Abroad?

By Tamás Székely // 2017.06.23.

According to a recent survey, about 1.2 million Hungarians are planning to leave their homeland and find a job abroad, preferably in the EU. Although the shocking figures have been circulating in the Hungarian media, not everyone believes the survey is right.

In right-wing daily Magyar Idők, journalist János Csontos questions the veracity of the results of a survey conducted by the left-wing Publicus think tank which found that 12 per cent of Hungarians are planning to seek jobs abroad (over and above the hundreds of thousands already working in the West). Publicus found that 40 per cent of young adults are inclined to look for employment outside Hungary.

Csontos is not sure what ’planning’ and ‘contemplating’ mean in the survey. He admits that the emigration of large segments of the workforce is a serious problem, but one that is a direct consequence of Hungary’s EU membership. He rejects allegations that those people ‘flee from the incumbent government’ and produces detailed figures on salaries in the West which are several times higher than what the same people would earn in Hungary. He remarks that as a result of Brexit, Hungarian workers’ emigration will slow down.

At any rate, he adds, emigration ratios are way higher in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria than in Hungary.

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