Why Belarusians Emigrate

On 12 July, Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich proposed the introduction of a tax on non-working Belarusians.

Although official statistics show that the unemployment rate stands at 0.5 per cent, the prime minister acknowledged that 445,000 Belarusians do not work – about 9 per cent of the working-age population. The authorities avoid talking about it officially, but everyone in Belarus is aware that most of these people work abroad.

The majority of migrants from Belarus find jobs in Russia. Although most Belarusian workers perform low skilled work in Russia, the brain drain is becoming a threat to the country. People who are well-paid by Belarusian standards and have higher education and pro-European attitudes increasingly want to leave Belarus.