Budapest (MTI) – The economy ministry has launched a scheme to entice young Hungarians back home from abroad.

The first round of funding totals 100 million forints (EUR 333,000) for relocating 50 young Hungarians based mainly in London, Sandor Czomba said on Wednesday.

Szabolcs Pakozdi, managing director of the National Employment Foundation, said the target group includes graduates in professions with labour shortages in Hungary. They have worked at least one year abroad, speak English well and are willing to return home if they get help in accommodation and finding a stable job with decent pay. The scheme can also help participants set up a business in Hungary, he added.

Czomba said, citing data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH), that at least 50 percent of people taking jobs abroad return within a year. The government wants to increase this rate with its scheme. The number of Hungarians working abroad for more than a year is estimated at around 350,000 by KSH but there are no data for the actual numbers, Czomba said.

Pakozdi said Hungarian firms look to employ engineers the most, but the IT, logistics, HR and financial sectors are also looking for highly skilled professionals. The scheme’s partners include Nestle, Lufthansa, Suzuki, IT Services Hungary, Aloca-Kofem, Grundfos, Videoton and Denso, he added.

The radical nationalist Jobbik party said the government’s scheme is a “late and feeble” attempt at solving a problem in proportion with its gravity. Gergely Farkas, an official of Jobbik’s youth arm, said “sizeable” funding should be re-allocated in the budget to ensure that returning young migrants can earn competitive wages at home while having access to affordable housing. Farkas urged the introduction of state-financed housing and training programmes.

Socialist MEP Istvan Ujhelyi said the government’s scheme is just “window dressing” and the 50 young people now being offered relocation help are one-tenth of the number forced to emigrate over the past few years. He said while Prime Minister Viktor Orban had promised in his election campaign that by 2020 all Hungarians will want to return home, young people are “still just running away”.

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