Escape of educated citizens will not be decreased by force

  • By chagy5
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  • 2024-04-19
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Escape of educated citizens will not be decreased by force

Minister of Labor and Social Protection Kh.Bulgantuya, who said, “Let us express our cooperation to make youth’s initiatives, solutions, dreams, aspirations, and quests a success” during a conference organized last fall, infuriated the public when she mentioned “We have established a working group to take measures to bring back the Mongolians abroad, and to prevent the young generation from moving out of Mongolia”. The minister who said about half a year ago that she would support the youth and work together to create a friendly environment for them in the country, seems to have come up with a wise way to limit immigration. She may have thought that it is possible to keep the youth in the country by locking the country’s “doors”. The minister still did not officially inform about where and what working group was established and what they plan to do. She also said that they do not have specific information.

The minister’s words made the Mongolians very frustrated. The public is upset that the relative organization, ministries and officials will repeat the common mistake of making a decision to restrict people without finding and implementing the right way to solve the core problems. There is this talk of policy and decision-makers that high-ranking officials “care” to make visas denied by sending letters to embassies to save their industry from human resource shortages. Those in the know say that this trick was started to be done a few years ago especially in the education and health sector, which are running out of work force. Now, there are rumors that the people of the emergency and energy sectors are “at risk” and sent an official number with such content to the diplomatic missions in our country. The minister made a bold announcement, as if to confirm this, that “Measures will be implemented to prevent the youth from being sent out of Mongolia”. From this speech, we can feel the tone of force and coercion to stop the outward flow by any means.

In the labor market of our country, there is a bigger and bigger “chasm” caused by the lack of human resources. It can be clearly seen from results of the “Medium and Long-Term Supply and Demand Forecast of the Labor Market” study conducted last year  in cooperation with the Mongolian Marketing Consulting Group, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (MLSP), and presented at the beginning of this year. “Mongolia’s labor market lacks more than 300,000 employees”, “67 percent of citizens aged 15-64 years old are interested in working abroad” and “Labor force participation rate is 57.6 percent” show that the situation is worse than we imagined. The shortage of workforce is directly related to many factors such as birth rates, informal employment, the number of students enrolled in universities and colleges, the attitudes of the new generation, and changes in workplaces, but the main influencing factor is foreign migration, the researchers said.

Information which says “Over 300,000 young people aged 25-32 years old went abroad from Mongolia in 2023” recently spread on social media channels, and Mongolians were surprised. After that, the government agencies issued corrections about it. The Mongolian Fact Checking Center also presented the statistics that “Last year, 2,043,077 citizens traveled abroad, 3.4 percent of them traveled for more than 90 days”. The number over 300,000 really hit the Mongolians. In fact, 69,000 is not a small number in a country where more than 200 thousand citizens live and work abroad, equivalent to six percent of the population. On average, last year, in a month, 5,763 citizens of our country and 189 people every day traveled abroad for more than three months. 

The statistics, facts, and information from many sources such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations, the “Brain drain” or a substantial emigration or migration of individuals issued by “The Global Economy” have been warning us about this for a long time. When creating it, many factors that are important in people’s daily life, such as politics, economy, and society, are evaluated and indexed with between 0 and 10 points. As the score increases, it indicates that the stock of valuable capital is decreasing and outflows are going up. The world average in 2023 was 5.17 points, while Mongolia’s was 4.2 points. The lowest rate in the last 16 years was 1.9 points in 2011. However, since 2016, it has been continuously increasing, and has fluctuated between 4-4.2 points in the last four years. In other words, skilled and educated Mongolian youths have gone to foreign countries in recent years. The conclusion of “67 percent of citizens aged 15-64 years old are willing to work abroad” in the new study of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection indicates that these figures may worsen in the future. Therefore, our country is forced to pay attention to this issue. We should not implement harsh measures that violate human rights and limit people’s choices, such as banning foreign migration and tightening visa conditions. It also should not be alternated with empty rhymes like “Let’s live happily in our country” and “Let’s stay in Mongolia”. It is only important to create a pleasant society in which to work and live comfortably.

Why do young people prefer to live in foreign countries? According to the “Brain drain” index report, living environment safety, social equality, religion, human rights, freedom, rule of law, health, access to education services, political influence, dependency, food supply, class boundaries, business, and economic environment, flexibility of taxes and fees and many other things influence to people’s choices of going abroad. Among them, the most important impact is the value of work, for example the salary, income adequacy, and environmental safety. These directly affect the quality of life. However, in our country, both of these indicators have fallen to the “floor”. 

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Mongolia, the average salary of citizens in Mongolia has increased 2.8 times in the last eight years, but the real salary index has increased by only 59.1 percent. Currently, the average salary of Mongolians is at 2.2 million MNT or about 650 USD, which is three times less than the world average, and is a shameful amount compared to countries with good labor value. 

In addition, there are many problems that destroy or influence a safe and peaceful life, starting with air and environmental pollution and traffic jams. This is the reason why thousands of people are moving abroad even though it is a peaceful land without border disputes, religious conflicts, wars, and epidemics. One researcher said, “The most expensive asset of any country is its citizens. When a country loses one citizen with a good education, it suffers a loss equal to one million USD”. Therefore, it seems that we are running out of millions of our “national wealth”. Not only young people of working age and people with high education have a desire to go abroad and work, but also pupils and students have a dream of living and working in a foreign country. Even those who have a settled life and are close to retirement are eager to improve the quality of their lives by working in countries with high wages and salaries. In general, the citizens of our country are moving. The aging of the population in foreign countries and the shortage of labor force caused by the epidemic continue to give Mongolians a favorable opportunity to “absorb” in foreign countries. However, the Mongolian government is not doing anything significant against it. 

In 2010, our country implemented the “Beehive” project, encouraging highly educated young people working in specialized fields abroad to come back and work in their country, and doing specific tasks to solve their social problems. As a result, many young people returned to Mongolia. The figures show that the “Brain drain” index was at the lowest level during this period of time. 

To be honest, at this time when the labor market has actually collapsed, and many social and economic indicators are worse than ever, is not it an insult to “call” people in foreign countries to work in Mongolia? The government does not have the right to say so. Instead, it is more efficient to create incentives to support young people by harmonizing the supply and demand of the labor market, increasing the value of certain professions, wages and salaries, creating a favorable environment for work and business, and establishing a flexible tax system.