Over the past decade, a large number of citizens have left Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), both because of the political situation and corruption in the country and because of the high unemployment rate and poor economic situation.
Although there is no precise official data on the number of BiH citizens who left their homeland and went to live and work in other countries, the Union for Sustainable Return and Integrations in BiH conducted a survey and came up with statistics showing that several hundred thousand of people have left BiH in the past decade.
According to their data, 24.043 people left BiH in 2013, 28.042 the following year, and 29.805 in 2015. In the following years, the trend of emigration from the country continued, and in 2016 34.544 people left BiH, in 2017 35.634 people, and the following year 20.943 people.
In the past three years, the trend of people leaving BiH has been particularly frequent. According to the Union for Sustainable Return and Integrations in BiH, in 2019, 56.987 people emigrated from BiH, next year 85.000, and this year that number will reach about 170.000 people. These data show that more than 484.000 people have left BiH in the past nine years.
A worrying trend of emigration this year
The President of the Union for Sustainable Return and Integrations in BiH, Mirhunisa Zukic, noted that the trend of emigration this and last year is especially worrying.
She stated that the emigration from BiH this year is especially shocking and worrying.
“Unofficially, we had 81.000 departures by June, plus the second half of the year, and that will be about 170.000 people for the whole year,” Zukic explained.
Data from the Union for Sustainable Return and Integrations inBiH, collected on the basis of field research, show that the region of northeastern Bosnia, Posavina, western Herzegovina, Una-Sana Canton (USC), and Canton 10 recorded the largest exodus of young people in 2021, and they especially emphasized departure of young from the USC.
Therefore, Zukic pointed out that it has long been time to take measures and adopt clear strategies to stop the trend of emigration from the country to some extent.
“We need something like a coordinating body at the level of BiH that would have the same incentives for all residents in all parts of BiH. These incentives relate to family planning, housing planning, reduction of tax levies. Strategies are needed that will clearly show what kind of BiH we want in five, ten, or fifteen years. The problem of leaving cannot be solved overnight, it requires a systematic, strategic, and long-term approach. If we do not have that, this trend will intensify because the countries that receive our people have it all,” told Amer Osmic, Faculty of Political science in Sarajevo.
Leaving because of injustice
Merfin from Sanski Most also left BiH in 2016 with his wife and three children and moved to Germany, where he still lives and works.
“The reason for our departure from BiH was that I want to give my children a better chance at life. Here, they don’t have to be members of a political party to get a job. These are the reasons and advantages. Here, one can have freedom of thought and decision, and it is not possible in BiH. We may never return to BiH if this political crisis continues,” Merfin, 49, said.