‘Come Home, Young People’! Hungary Offers Financial Incentives to Emigrants to Return


The Hungarian government is offering free flights and a monthly stipend to its young people, many of whom have left the nation to find work elsewhere in Europe, if they return to the country.

The programme, called ‘Come Home, Young People’ is worth a free flight and 100,000 forints (£226) a month – a reasonable sum of money in a country where a premium local beer will set you back around 90 pence. The offer has been taken up by around 800 people so far. The Independent reports a recent ‘recruiting’ event in London saw another 100 members of the Hungarian diaspora considering making the paid journey home.

Many Eastern European countries have suffered a so-called ‘brain drain’ as a consequence of free movement within the European Union, with many of the brightest young graduates and workers heading West in the hope of better opportunities and significantly higher pay, leaving their home countries with a depleted stock of capable youngsters. This is just the latest measure put in place by the Hungarian government to protect its own population – in 2013 the law was changed to prevent any graduate who took a government funded degree from moving abroad for work for 10 years.

It is not only Hungary that is making attempts to lure back those already gone. Poland has instigated a ‘returns’ programme to help create and showcase opportunities for some of the millions of Poles who have resettled in Western countries like the United Kingdom. In 2005 it was reported the number of Polish doctors being pulled in by Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was so great, the Polish health service was becoming unable to treat its own patients due to under-staffing.

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