An estimated 20 percent of people in Latvia are ready to leave the country to seek better-paying jobs, a survey conducted for the Latvian Welfare Ministry shows.
The main reason prompting Latvians to head abroad is the desire for higher salaries, which was cited by nearly 85 percent of respondents in the poll. Better working conditions are important to almost 31 percent, while 25 percent of respondents mentioned a chance to gain new experience.
Respondents who voiced a readiness to work abroad were mainly young people aged up to 24, male, with a basic or secondary education.
More than half of respondents said they would not like to stay away from home for more than a year, while 6 percent said they would leave Latvia forever.
The Welfare Ministry predicts that the influx of money and investments from foreign countries will keep growing during the next five years, but that the trend will start waning when emigrants from Latvia settle down in their host countries.
The ministry also notes that the outflow of workforce from the country will cause losses to many Latvian businesses, as their profitability will suffer due to labor shortages. The money Latvian guest workers are sending home, meanwhile, is one of the factors driving inflation rate up, the ministry says.
If the government sticks to its policy of non-interference on the issue, as many as 80,000 people might leave Latvia by 2010, the authors of the survey conclude.