Czech IT firms look East over shortage of local specialists

Czech companies in need of IT specialists are increasingly seeking to recruit from states in the former Eastern Bloc, the news website reported. Such countries were previously known chiefly as a source of labourers and cleaners.

With increasing digitalisation, it is not just just Czech developers who are hiring software engineers; supermarket chains, banks and large manufacturers are also in the market for such specialists, said.

At present there is a huge shortage of IT workers not only in the Czech Republic but also in neighbouring states.

The Czech labour market alone is lacking up to 50,000 IT specialists, Ladislav Hájek from Grafton Recruitment told the news site.

The solution? Some companies are looking beyond the European Union, despite the fact that making non-EU hires is accompanied by a lengthy bureaucratic process.

Politics also plays a role. In recent months some in the industry have seen more newcomers from Belarus.

This is of course due to the long-term political instability in the country, Mirek Mejtský, a specialist in the relocation of foreign workers with Petyovský & Partners, told

Mr. Mejtský said that the visa process for hires takes between three and six months, depending on which country a person comes from or whether they also bring a partner, or children, to the Czech Republic.

The process can take even longer if a hiring company lacks experience in this area.

The Covid situation also delayed the processing of some visas. Service was limited at a number of Czech embassies, and priority was given to student visas and family reunification applications.

However, attention was also given to government programmes to bring in highly qualified staff; this may include hiring IT experts, if the company meets the conditions of those schemes, said.

In some cases, firms waiting for red tape to be sorted out first employ new hires on a temporary basis via partners in their countries of origin.

Czech companies are actively recruiting abroad, sometimes via virtual roadshows in former Soviet republics.

The most capable programmers are Russians, Belarusians, Kazakhs and Uzbeks, Illya Pavlov, director of Acamar, which provides consultations and entire teams for development projects in the Czech Republic, told iDnes.