Todays Date
May 24, 2022

INBOX7 DEBATE: Authorities confirmed that half a million citizens have left

Macedonia is second according to youth unemployment in the European Union. Statistics show that 29% of highly educated Macedonians live outside their home country. 85% of young people study abroad, but after returning to Macedonia they go abroad again. What should be done? These were the questions whose answers were discussed during the debate titled

Marjan Zabrchanec of the NGO Youth Educational Forum recalled the results of recent studies: 45% of young people do not see their future in Macedonia, 60% of students in Macedonia do not see their future in the country.

Debata Marjan Zabrzanec

Marjan Zabrchanec


“Even the capital Skopje is no longer attractive to young people from other towns planning to leave”, said Zabrchanec who quoted Professor Slobodan Unkovski, “If you want to wish someone something bad, wish him to stay in Macedonia”, a statement which sparked widespread public debate in the social networks. Hence the question if it is patriotic to stay in Macedonia or pragmatic to leave?

Debata Agim Selmani ZIP

Agim Selmani


Agim Selmani of ZIP Institute testified with his personal example as a student of a European University, saying that “in Macedonia one cannot find a job with a CV (personal and professional biography)”.


A representative from the Ministry of Education and Science, Bardil Tushi addressed the four phases of emigration from Macedonia. “The first period is from 1945 to the ’60s when most of the population migrated to Turkey. The second phase from the ’60s to 1975 when there was migrating to the United States and the third phase to the ‘90s leaving the state for temporary work abroad. Macedonia is in the fourth phase which was intensified after 2000, and began with the independence that is specific for emigration of highly educated class”, said Bardul Tushi.


Referring to figures from the last census in 2002, he noted that 500,000 Macedonians have left the country, representing 22% of the total population.

Debata Bardulj Tushi MON

Bardil Tushi


All panelists agreed that without accurate figures on how many young people have left the country a strategy for their return back home cannot be built.


It is worrying that intellectual migration has been more intensified in the recent years. In order to encourage young people to return to Macedonia after they complete their studies, the Government of RM is in the process of preparing a special strategy for implementation of projects that will create better conditions for the return of young people, as well as greater activation of Emigration Agency, they inform from the Ministry of Education and Science.


Representatives of non-governmental organizations asked to be involved in the preparation of the strategy and with their observations and data to contribute to higher quality provisions, because the context in which the strategy rests is the most important.

Debata Zlatko Simonovski CIKP

Darko Simonovski


Darko Simonovski from the Center for Research and Policy Making presented part of the recent researches done on 120 students who have returned from studies abroad and who now face the challenge of employment and uncertain future.


“First they are in shock due to the different cultural habits they acquired in the country where they studied, then the problem of housing (abroad they lived in a dorm or apartment alone), then they have limited opportunities for employment and advancement”, pointed out Simonovski.


According to the results of a CRPM survey, even 95% of respondents said that after returning from study abroad in their country they found no help from any center, then only 38% of them started a process of nostrification of the diplomas. Two thirds of them got employed, and a third is still actively looking for a job mostly in research centers, international organizations and NGOs.

Debata Beti Holandska

Returnees, as Simonovski noted, in their responses said that there is no interest at all in their knowledge so they are discouraged and accept to work for lower wages. The reasons for this situation, according to this research, are the economic situation in the country, then the political, as the impossibility of further qualification.


However, the figures say nearly half responded positively, and half said they were not satisfied with the return to Macedonia. There is no exact figure what percentage of students outside Macedonia return back home.

Debata Ljuljzim Haziri ADI

Lulzlim Haziri


Lulzlim Haziri from the Association for Democratic Initiatives noted that after 20 years of crisis the authorities must have a broader approach to solve this problem. “Emigration of young Albanians has been lasting for three decades, how many Albanians play in foreign football clubs, meaning 2-3 generations live abroad. Although MES provides scholarships to 200 prestigious universities in the world, modernization of our education is necessary”, said Haziri, who asked why no player returns and plays in Macedonia.


The problem for young people is politicization of society and false patriotism, said attendees at the debate, who indicated that at the job interview in the ministries they were asked whether they had a party membership card. The ministry representative said that such situations should not be silent, but the media should be informed about that.