Tuesday, 21 November 2017

MfD: Czechs to recruit more manpower abroad

ČTK |
13 November 2017

Prague, Nov 10 (CTK) - The Czech Foreign Ministry is preparing a system of preferential import of foreign labour force from Vietnam, Mongolia and Uzbekistan, similar to the regime for workers from Ukraine, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Friday.

The Foreign Ministry has thus obeyed the desperate calls of Czech firms facing a record shortage of manpower due to a very low jobless rate.

"The employers need to fill roughly 250,000 openings," the paper quotas Miroslav Diro, from the Chamber of Commerce, as saying.

The Foreign Ministry is to introduce quotas for the foreign workers, MfD writes.

The preferential system is to copy the "Ukrainian regime," introduced last year. Thanks to it, employers can get the manpower they select to the Czech Republic.

So far, the system has been joined by 12,500 people, one-third of whom have already reached the plants in the Czech Republic, MfD writes.

This was impossible until last August when the pilot system was started. This was due to the IT system Visapoint, used for online applications for visas.

Due to the effort to get a free date to submit an application to a Czech diplomatic office, many people were paying for their registration to the dealers who were able to break into the system.

Now the system will be switched off.

As of November 27, the applicants for visas and stays in the Czech Republic will be able to submit their applications again by e-mail, phone and personally at a specific diplomatic office.

The applicants will be still queuing in Lviv and Hanoi, but with the limited number of places. In the meantime, the introduction of preferential regimes will be prepared in the three new countries.

"The amendment we are drafting is yet to be approved by the new government," Martin Smolek, Deputy Foreign Minister for the Legal and Consular Section, is quoted as saying.

Under the proposal, the crushing majority of the applicants for the employment card will get to the Czech Republic by means of the "Ukrainian regime," while the rest, some 5 percent, by means of phone calls or e-mails.

"This refers to the permits for stay for the purpose of employment of the people with low and medium skills, demanded by the business sphere," Smolek said.

The existing quota for Ukraine is 12,600 people annually. The Foreign Ministry has recommended that the rest of the quotas be set depending on the numbers from the previous year, while the decision on them will be up to the government each year.

However, the Vietnamese, Uzbeks, Mongolians and Ukrainians will be no salvation for the Czech economy. Last year, the employment card was given to a total of 3,096 people. In the first nine months of this year, it was over 6,000, MfD writes.

Moreover, the companies complain that getting a worker through the regime for Ukraine takes a very long time.

"We agree with the accelerated regimes, but we do not agree with the strict quotas," Confederation of Industry spokeswoman Eva Velickova has told the paper.

Under the proposal, the government is also to say which professions it prefers. This list may be put together by employers who are mainly demanding joiners, house painters, bakers, seamstresses and drivers.

However, the idea is rejected by the trade unions for fear of too cheap labour, MfD writes.

Meat-processing companies are interested especially in Mongolians. The work there is hard and the staff does not stay there long.

"Mongolians are used to work with meat, they are born shepherds and they are familiar with the work with a knife," Velickova told the paper.

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