Czech Republic targets skilled Ukrainian labour

Illustrative photo: bluerock / freeimages

The government is to launch a new fast-track programme to make it easier for high school and university graduates from Ukraine to seek employment in the Czech Republic. There is hope new applicants will fill gaps in the labour market.

Bohdan Rajčinec,  photo: Prokop Havel
I spoke to Bohdan Rajčinec of the non-governmental organisation Ukrainian Initiative, asking what was needed for the plan to be a success.

“One thing we are absolutely certain of is that the government has to talk to other governmental or non-governmental organizations about this so that the word gets out and people have a chance to learn about it. For example, the information should definitely be shared with the government’s council for national minorities. Then, consular services, I expect, will need to be fully informed so that Ukrainians themselves learn about the possibilities. I’m not sure that the information is there now.”

The Czech Republic is looking for skilled professionals – will that be an attractive option for people in Ukraine?

“I don’t think we are talking about thousands of people but there will be people who will be interested, yes. As far as skilled labour is concerned, it will be more than IT technicians or engineers, doctors or physicists, but for example, skilled metal workers, I think.”

The Czech Republic has a substantial Ukrainian community some one hundred thousand people strong: is that an advantage for nationals coming over now?

“Discussing the Czech Republic, what Ukrainians talk a lot about is a ‘new way of life’. I don’t just mean financially but also about stable social and political surroundings. And many Ukrainian expat families are looking for that.”

Illustrative photo: bluerock / freeimages
And the difference financially?

“In Ukraine you might earn between 3,000, 4,000 to 7,000 Hryvnias a month they are making up to six or seven times more in the Czech Republic.”

Generally-speaking, do Ukrainians adapt well or integrate well in Czech society?

“I would say definitely. It wasn’t always like that but we have been watching the process for 25 years and we can say that they have a chance to live positive lives here.”