Czech Republic will ease conditions for employing foreigners

Photo: Euroean Commission

While the Czech economy is booming, many employers are complaining they just cannot find workers. Some large companies are increasingly turning to foreign workers, though that process is often held back by lengthy and complicated bureaucratic procedures. But now things are set to become easier - the Czech government has this week announced plans for a new "green card" system.

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Necas
About 220,000 foreigners are now legally working in the Czech Republic, and Czech employers hope that their numbers will increase. The country's economy is estimated to grow by 5.8 percent next year which will lead to even greater demand for labour. To address the imminent shortage, the Czech government has approved a new system which will make it easier for nationals of non-EU countries to find and apply for jobs in the Czech Republic. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Necas explains why the system is needed.

"The principle of the program lies in the liberalization of the labour market in the Czech Republic. We have a lack of qualified labour, from manual labourers to university graduates. In fact, there is also a lack of unqualified workers as well. The Czech economy, at its current rate of growth, needs foreign labour and needs it from countries outside the EU as well."

The current bureaucratic procedure for Czech companies wishing to employ foreigners is quite complicated. They have to advertise each job for a period of three months to see if anyone from the Czech Republic or any other European Union country applies. Then the Czech employer has to apply for a special permit, and only then can they look abroad for labour. But even after Czech employers successfully fulfil all these requirements, all non-EU job applicants have to apply for visas and work permits; that process takes additional three to six months. Minister Petr Necas says that this procedure will be much easier after the 'green card' programme is approved by the Parliament.

Photo: european Commission
"Every vacancy, if not advertised as being for Czech and EU nationals only and if not filled by local applicants within 30 days, will be included in a central database on a publicly accessible website. The system will simplify the decision-making process; it will limit free decision-making by officials, it will be under public control. It is a very liberal system, and we want to have it introduced very quickly, that is during next year, if possible."

Under the new 'green card' system, non-EU applicants will find a vacancy in the central database and then they will approach the Czech embassy in their country. The embassy will issue a green card which will serve as both a work and residency permit.