The effective use of labor potential and the return of migrant workers from abroad is a matter of national security and statehood, Ukraine's First Deputy Prime Minister, Economy Minister Oleksii Liubchenko has said.
According to an Ukrinform correspondent, he said this at the opening of the All-Ukrainian Forum "Ukraine 30. Human Capital" in Kyiv on Tuesday.
He said it was impossible to count the exact number of citizens who did not find themselves in Ukraine and went "to seek happiness" abroad. According to expert estimates, the issue concerns two or three million Ukrainians who leave their country every year.
"We are leaders in Europe in terms of the number of able-bodied people working abroad," Liubchenko said.
Therefore, the task of the state is to create conditions as soon as possible for the vast majority of Ukrainians, who once went abroad to earn money, to return home.
"We must replace the phrase 'I want to leave' with the phrase 'I want to return,'" Liubchenko said, quoting the Ukrainian president's election program and giving statistics.
"According to the register of individual taxpayers, 11.3 million citizens received official salaries last year. Almost 11 million had no official income at all. Plus we have more than 11 million retirees, whose benefits depend on those who work legally. That is, at the expense of one person who works officially the state keeps two unemployed. And all these categories of citizens equally enjoy the common good: medical care, education, infrastructure, benefits, and subsidies," Liubchenko said.
According to him, shadow wages in Ukraine amount to almost half a trillion hryvnias a year. The government faces the task of returning these funds to the real economy. The participants in the forum should discuss ways to achieve this goal, Liubchenko said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in February this year launched a series of 30 large-scale weekly forums in the format of dialogue with the public on vital issues for the country. The events are timed to the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence. The topic of the current forum is the effective use of human capital, including the possibility of returning Ukrainian migrant workers to their homeland. For two days, participants in the forum will discuss ways to return people from labor migration, government programs to combat unemployment, changes that the labor market has undergone since the pandemic. The topics of the discussion also include the new Labor Code, the implementation of European rules and regulations in domestic legislation, and digitalization as an integral part of the sphere of labor relations.