Czech government moves to address shortage of labour
The Czech government has moved to address the shortage of qualified workers on the country’s labour market. Last Friday, it approved a proposal put forward by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to increase quotas for foreign workers from third countries by 20,000 as of 2024.
According to figures by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Czechia currently recruits around 13,500 foreign workers per year. However, some industries continue to face a serious shortage of labour, either due to a lack of specialists in the field or because Czechs are less interested in the given field of work.
For instance, Czechia’s healthcare sector is currently lacking around 2,000 nurses and experts warn that another 10,000 are due to retire within the next decade. Meanwhile, the country also lacks around 400,000 skilled tradesman, which slows down housing construction as well as commercial and industrial projects.
Marek Vošahlík, head of the press department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, says one of the reasons behind the lack of qualified workers is Czechia’s exceptionally low unemployment rate:
“The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic is one of the lowest in the EU. Czech companies have been lacking qualified employees for a long time.
“As a consequence, our productivity on the labour market is declining and our competitiveness is declining compared to other countries.”
According to the proposal by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, approved by the government on Friday, increasing the quota for foreign workers will result in a total of 20,000 more skilled workers per year. Marek Vošahlík again:
“The measure is intended to help the Czech Republic increase GDP, strengthen the labour market and increase state budget revenue. Depending on the area, this would include IT specialists, developers, software engineers, doctors, nurses, machine operators, assembly workers, bricklayers and others.”
The Minister of Industry and Trade, Jozef Síkela, says that if the employers use the total amount proposed, it could bring over CZK 93 million to the state coffers in administrative fees alone.
The increase in quotas for foreign workers from third countries mostly concerns workforce from Ukraine. For example, limits for Ukrainian workers in the Skilled Worker Programme, which facilitates the employment of third-country professionals, will increase by 11,000, says Mr. Vošahlík:
“More than 3,000 Czech companies have joined the Skilled Worker Programme since its launch, with a total of 70,000 employee cards issued.
“This year, they were mainly workers from Mongolia, Serbia, the Philippines, India, Moldova, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Georgia, and Northern Macedonia.”
Labour offices in Czechia currently register nearly 800,000 employed foreigners, which is around 15 percent of the total workforce. Of these, 270,000 are Ukrainians and over 200,000 Slovaks. There are also around 11,000 employees from India, the Philippines and Nepal working in Czechia at the moment.