Hungary is paying its young emigrants to come back home

The government is offering free flights and £226 a month for a year to young expats if they go back to Hungary

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The Independent Online

The Hungarian government is running a scheme that encourages young ex-pats to return to the country, by offering them 100,000 forints (£226) every month for a year if they come home.

The 'Come home, young person' scheme also offers free flights back to Hungary for young people living abroad.

Since it began at the end of April, Secretary of State for Employment Sandor Czomba says that around 800 people have taken the government up on the offer.

While the £226 a month doesn't sound like enough to encourage young people to re-patriate, this money would go much further in Hungary than it would in the UK. According to city data website Numbeo, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in central Budapest is around £190 a month.

This week, around 100 young Hungarians attended an open day in London to find out more about the new scheme.

Many Eastern European countries have experienced a 'brain drain' of young people moving abroad in search of more jobs and better wages. In Hungary, the average monthly salary is around £450, compared with around £1600 in the UK.

 

The government hopes that these cash incentives will help reverse this process, bringing young and talented workers back to Hungary.

The scheme is in its early days, but it is likely to be welcomed by Hungary's youth as a more positive way of encouraging them to stay in the country - in 2013, the government announced that students receiving state-funded university places must stay in Hungary for at least 10 years after graduation, a policy that many said 'trapped' young people.

Earlier this year, Hungary's Central Statistical Office found out that in 2014, the rate of emigration was 46 per cent higher than it was the previous year.

The 2014 figure is six times the size of the emigration rate in 2009, and the Office warned that the real figure is even higher, as many people do not notify the government when they leave the country. 77 per cent of these emigrants are under 40 years of age.

For the sake of Hungary's economic future, politicians hope that their generous offer will be attractive enough.

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