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Directive aimed at foreign workers will also affect Czechs

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The Czech government has begun its fight with employment agencies that help foreigners find work. It is accusing the agencies of taking jobs away from Czechs. On Monday the cabinet approved a directive that bans agencies from finding unqualified jobs for people with no education.

The government document does not specify any nationalities. In practice, it means that the agencies cannot help find an unqualified job, at an assembly line, for instance, even for an uneducated Czech.

“This step is unavoidable,” said Labour Minister Petr Nečas. He says the Czech Republic has to fight the influx of foreign labourers because their job prospects are uncertain in the Czech Republic at a time of crisis. The cabinet is worried about unemployed foreigners. According to Interior Minister Ivan Langer, foreigners can easily become the victims or the perpetrators of various crimes.

“I don’t understand the purpose of this directive. The only thing that this will accomplish is longer queues at employment offices, consisting of people with no education,” said Martin Kratochvíl from the agency Brigádník.

The government document says that agencies can continue finding jobs for people with high school diplomas or with university degrees. Those with only elementary school education or with an apprenticeship will not qualify. There will be some exceptions, such as brick-layers, carpenters and drivers. There are about 30 jobs on the list of exceptions. There is, for instance, also a lack of various types of operators. “But the people applying for these positions make up the majority of our clientele. This directive will destroy many agencies,” said Kratochvíl.

But Nečas is not expecting many agencies to go out of business. He plans to carry out stricter controls of these agencies. The ministry has already launched a series of controls to check whether they are operating in accordance with Czech laws and if their clients’ documents are in order. The preliminary results of the controls are surprising. The ministry has filed complaints against some 500 agencies. It has so far inspected a third of the country’s total of 2,500 agencies. The Interior Ministry is also planning inspections. These will have to do with the employment of foreigners.

The government directive from Monday only applies to so-called “temporary assignment jobs”. If companies are looking for employees, agencies supply them to suit each company’s specific requests. This means the exact required number and the required education level. The agency also takes care of all the necessary documents. Companies use agencies in situations such as when they experience a sudden increase in commissions. When they no longer need the employees, they return them to the agency.

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