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Salaries in Hungary still not enough to bring émigrés home

In Hungary

jessica fejos

According to estimates compiled from several sources, 600,000 Hungarians have emigrated since Hungary joined the EU. However, there is no reliable data on the Hungarians that live and work in Europe. In fact, the term emigrant is not clearly defined.

Apart from data collected through the census, it is very difficult to have a clear picture of how many Hungarians have left the country, online financial news portal portfolio.hu reports.

Some are commuters, most of these living in the west of the country and working across the border in Austria. Others are working illegally in Western European countries, and therefore are not registered and do not appear in official statistics. A third group comprises those who are living abroad for a few months and then return to Hungary.

Another problem is that most European data is not up to date, the latest information being from 2013, portfolio.hu notes. Some countries, such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Malta, the Netherlands and Portugal, have not responded to inquiries regarding the number of Hungarians living there.

After gathering all available data and performing all necessary adjustments, portfolio.hu estimated that 570,000 Hungarians have emigrated since 2004, most of them living in the U.K. (250,000), Germany (192,000), Austria (72,000) and Sweden (16,600).

Online news portal index.hu quoted Gyula László, a professor at the University of Pécs, who stated that although salaries in Hungary have started growing because of labor shortages, it is not likely that Hungarians who have already emigrated to Western countries will start coming home in large numbers. The salary gap is still too deep to prompt long-term changes, he added.

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