Since Latvia joined the European Union (2004) increased vast opportunities in international labour market. In 2004 European Union states like the UK, Ireland and Sweden opened their labour markets to workers from Latvia. This resulted in considerable relocation of Latvian labour migrants, particularly to the UK and Ireland. Next wave of labour emigration from Latvia was in 2008 influenced by the global economic crisis.
The main reason for leaving, of course, was inability to find work. Also other reasons why people went to other countries were to take advantage of employment opportunities and for higher wages than are available to them in Latvia.
At the end of 2010, the countries of most interest for working abroad were: Great Britain (35%), countries of Northern Europe (Norway – 17%, Finland – 15% and Sweden – 10%), Germany (10%), Netherlands (10%) and Denmark (9%). At the end of 2009, Ireland also was the country of much interest.
But mostly viewed workplaces by sectors and groups of professions abroad were: elementary occupations (34%), in agriculture, forestry and fishing (skilled agriculture and fishery workers – 21%), skilled workers in transportation sector (10%), construction sector (builders – 10%), accommodation and food services (12%), and human health (nurses, doctors – 5%).
Labour migration involves a number of benefits and losses. As a positive point could be the money transfer to Latvia which may draw up a significant share of gross national product and to promote industrial development. Labour migration also reduced the amount of unemployed but on the other hand it caused workforce deficit in certain professions, as well as substantially influenced the level of salaries in the whole economy and, of course, all this influence the future development of Latvia.