Europe's booming economy to recruit Czech IT specialists

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The first Czech computer expert received a Green Card on Tuesday to live and work in Germany. It was granted as part of Germany's bid to recruit 20,000 computer specialists from all around the world, to fill a much-needed gap in the German labour market. Computer science is still a very popular course at Czech universities. Every year hundreds of students graduate in IT, and are immediately snapped up by Czech firms. The shortage in Germany gives them even more possibilities. Zuzana Smidova reports:

Twenty-five-year-old Marian Koenig graduated from IT two years ago from a Brno university and worked in a local computer company. Next Monday he starts his new job at Hortex in North Rhine - Westphalia.

"The main reason I applied was to improve my German and also to get some experience of living in a another country, to find out how things work abroad. I'd like to be able to stand on my own two feet."

Germany is the first European country to admit that it desperately needs skilled graduates from abroad to sustain its prolonged economic boom. And that's not only the case for the information technology field, as Dr Barth from the German embassy pointed out.

"There are some special arrangements for Czechs in the visa process, because in certain fields there is a great need for them. One example is catering--Czech chefs are highly qualified. Many of them come to work in Germany and therefore the visa process is quick and smooth."

European countries are beginning to follow Germany's lead. Austria's Minister of Labour and the Economy Martin Bartenstein told the Czech media recently that his country was interested in taking on foreign computer specialists immediately. At the same time Mr Bartenstein denied allegations that Austria was afraid of a flood of cheap labour from the Czech Republic as soon as it joins the EU. In fact, the Austrian government is planning to discuss shortages in other fields this autumn. And to fill those gaps, they will rely on Austria's neighbouring countries, he said. Great Britain is also rumoured to take similar steps.

And so it seems that even though the Czech Republic will have to wait a couple of years to join the EU, for highly-qualified Czechs, the gates to the labour market have already opened.

Author: Zuzana Šmídová
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