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HN: Czech emigrants return from West to enjoy low living costs

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Prague, July 25 (CTK) – Rising wages and their expected further growth, declining unemployment rate, relatively low costs of living and strengthening national currencies are a reason for East European emigrants, including Czechs, to return home from the West, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) wrote on Tuesday.

As the EU gradually expanded in the past years, more and more people left Central and East Europe to work in the West. Last year, at least seven million people lived in the West who came from the six countries that entered the EU after 2004, HN writes and indicates that this is an official figure and their real number was even higher.

Out of the Central and East European nations, the share of Czechs leaving for the West was the lowest, 1.7 percent of the population, or 184,000 people, compared with four and more percent of Slovaks and Hungarians, the daily writes.

According to the latest study released by the Colliers International consulting company, the emigration has reached the climax. From now on, the number of those returning home from the West will prevail over those heading westwards.

“In the nearest future, this will mainly apply to the Visegrad Four (V4) countries,” Mark Robinson, an analyst from the Colliers’ Prague office, is quoted as saying.

The V4 members are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

There are more reasons behind this trend, the main being the recent faster growth of wages, lower taxes and costs of housing in the emigrants’ original home countries, HN writes, referring to the V4, Bulgaria and Romania.

These factors influence the net income and also people’s decision on where to live, the paper continues.

The Czech Republic has the lowest unemployment rate of all EU countries, and unemployment has also been declining elsewhere in Central Europe, where the demand for workforce is growing along with the chance of a higher wage, the daily writes.

In addition, analysts expect central European currencies to be strengthening, it says.

In the past years, the highest number of emigrating Czechs left to work in Germany (28 percent) and Britain (26 percent), the paper writes.

The Czech crown has been strengthening against both the euro and the British pound, while the pound has been weakening due to Brexit, the daily writes.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU has already had effect. The Central and East European net immigration to Britain reached only 5,000 last year, compared with the annual 30,000 to 50,000 in the previous years, HN writes.

Central European economies are short of skilled workforce and emigrants’ return will benefit them. The relevant states’ tax revenues will increase as will the demand for consumer goods and real estate in these countries, the paper writes.

“In Western European cities, even university graduates [from the East] do unskilled jobs in wine bars and pubs,” Robinson said.

There are 51,720 Czechs among the total of 1,650,000 immigrants from the six eastern countries in Germany.

Out of Britain’s total of 1,360,000 east European immigrants, 45,000 are Czechs.

The figures for Austria are 340,000/39,730, for France 250,000/8820, for Belgium 190,000/690, for the Netherlands 170,000/870, for Ireland 150,000/5310, for Sweden 140,000/1830, for Norway 130,000/2230, for Switzerland 120,000/14,710, for Denmark 80,000/1540, for Portugal 40,000/270 and for Finland 10,000/250, while the figures for Spain have been unavailable, the paper writes, citing data released by Colliers, Eurostat and other sources.

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