Prague, Oct 9 (CTK) – About 382,900 foreigners were employed in the Czech Republic at the end of 2016, which is nearly 100,000 more than in 2008, during the boom before the financial crisis, according to a Labour Ministry report worked out for the tripartite council.

Three-fourth of the foreigners were from other European Union member states. In the long term, the largest group the foreign employees are Slovaks. Last year, they represented 42 percent of the foreign employees (161,559).

The second largest group are Ukrainians, 54,600 of whom worked in the country in 2016. Other employed foreigners from outside of the EU were Russians (8,290) and Vietnamese (6,565).

Nearly three-fourths of the employed foreigners were from the EU, Switzerland and the European Economic Area (EEA – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) last year.

In 2016, 31,522 employees were Romanian, 31,355 were Polish and 25,784 Bulgarian.

In 2008, there were about 284,600 foreign employees in the Czech Republic.

The Labour Ministry used to release monthly figures on foreign employees, but expert estimates have been used after a database change since 2012.

Three out of ten foreign employees are unskilled labourers, one out of five manipulates with machines. Three out of ten work in manufacturing industry and one in six do paperwork and supportive activities.

EU foreigners do not need any work permit in the country. Foreign graduates from Czech secondary schools and universities do not need it either, nor is it required from asylum holders and foreigners with permanent residence in the country.

All other foreigners must receive permits from the Employment Office. Several government projects aim to simplify and speed up access to the Czech labour market. The Interior Ministry issues special employment cards.

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic is record low, 3.8 percent in September. It is now the lowest in the EU. According to the Employment Office, there were 284,915 job seekers and 206,081 vacancies.

The Labour Ministry concluded that the Czech market reached the level of natural unemployment, which means that everybody who wants to work under the offered conditions has a job. The vacancies and unemployed are due to low qualifications, low salaries and unwillingness to work.

Czech employers would like more foreigners to come to work in the country. They say they cannot meet the demand because they do not have enough workers.

Confederation of Industry head Jaroslav Hanak on Monday called on the government to allow for easier employment of people from Ukraine, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.

Trade unions claim that companies fail to find employees because they offer bad working conditions and low pay. CMKOS umbrella union leader Josef Stredula said entrepreneurs should not seek employees only in poorer states, but also among the unemployed in Western countries.

Number of of foreigners employed in the Czech Republic in 2001-2016 according to Employment Office data:

Year Number of foreign employees
2001 103,652
2002 101,179
2003 105,738
2004 107,984
2005 151,736
2006 185,075
2007 240,242
2008 284,551
2009 230,709
2010 215,367
2011 217,862
2012 221,944
2013 224,284
2014 260,999
2015 323,244
2016 382,889