The Lviv IT Cluster calculated that after the victory in the war, up to 118,000 IT workerd may leave Ukraine – more than half of the country’s IT industry, reports Forbes. However, this is according to the most pessimistic scenario, if European integration and support for the West begin to collapse, and the authorities will “tighten the screws”.
At this time, men between the ages of 18 and 60, excluding exceptions listed in the legislation, cannot leave the territory of Ukraine due to martial law. The authorities do not yet plan to change the procedure for men to travel abroad, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyi once again reminded in response to a petition signed by more than 27,000 Ukrainians. However, this fact does not change the migration plans of IT workers – mostly men. “Rather, it does not allow implementation,” says Stepan Veselovskyi, CEO of the Lviv IT Cluster.
For 79% of the IT community, the complete victory of Ukraine and the return of the territories, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Donbas, is the main reason not to pack their bags, according to the IT Research Resilience study. However, even under such conditions, tens of thousands of specialists are ready to leave the country.
The Lviv IT Cluster calls the loss of up to 27,000 IT specialists in the first, optimistic scenario for the Ukrainian economy. Such a scenario with the emigration of 12% of IT workers is possible if the state continues its course towards European integration, the West continues to provide aid for reconstruction, and economic freedom reigns in Ukraine. In this case, the country will lose $1-1.38 billion in export earnings.
The second, already more pessimistic option, will be the relocation of 52,000 specialists abroad and a decrease in export turnover by $1.8–2.35 billion. As the Lviv IT Cluster notes, emigrant moods will increase if the government regulates the economy, as during the war, despite the support of the West and the course for joining the EU.
Third, the worst scenario for Ukrainian IT, will be the curtailment of European integration and strict state regulation of the economy. Then, 110,000 IT people may remain in the country from the current 228,000. In this case, the amount of unreceived IT exports will increase to $3.92–4.8 billion.
Like 84% of Ukrainians, IT workers do not accept any territorial concessions to the occupiers, a truce and other “compromise” victory scenarios. The desire to buy international tickets also increases the loss of a job and home in Ukraine. “A person who has lost his home is more inclined to move, because he no longer holds anything material,” says Veselovskyi.