The Czech government opened the labour market to workers from Thailand. Companies say: We don’t need the Thai for now. We have enough of our own people.
The government is loosening the strict regulation for employing workers from the east. As of today, after a five-month restriction, people from Thailand will be able to apply for long-term work visas. Fischer’s cabinet approved the new measure. The Interior Ministry has a report that recommends that work visas be made available to the citizens of a number of other countries as well.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic has risen to 8.5%. About half a million Czechs are out of work, with 8,500 newly unemployed joining their ranks since the end of July. In spite of this, the Interior Ministry wants to introduce these unusual measures and open the labour market to people from Thailand.
Five months ago, Thailand was on a list of “five unpopular countries”, whose citizens were not allowed to apply for work visas in the Czech Republic. “We conducted an analysis these measures over three months, and prepared material for the cabinet, which then made a decision based on this material,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Vladimír Řepka.
During the cabinet meeting, Interior Minister Pecina did not present other information, which his officials made available to him. According to this information, foreigners are a threat for the Czech market, taking jobs that Czechs would have wanted. So the citizens from Moldava, Mongolia, Ukraine and Vietnam. Former Interior Minister Ivan Langer barred these nations from working in the Czech Republic.
Foreigners? No thanks for now
Right now the Czech Republic has more than 40,000 open jobs right now, mostly for factory workers. In spite of this, companies do not need foreigners. “As a result of the crisis, there is sufficient demand among local workers,” said Břetislav Ošťádal, owner of the company Elektrotechnika Úvaly, which used to employ foreigners in the past. Workers from abroad for now won’t find many opportunities in bigger companies either. Škoda Auto in Mladá Boleslav, for instance, announced it would be laying off agency workers, many of whom are foreigners. The reason behind the move is the end of the scrapping fee programme in Germany, which has caused a decline in production.
According to analysts, foreigners could be useful for Czech firms in the future, however. Especially when it comes to short-term commissions, of which there is now more now that the market is starting to wake up.
Mostly Mongolians left
For now, the Interior Ministry is not planning to loosen the regulations for other countries. “I understand that uneducated foreigners could be taking jobs from Czechs. But I don’t understand why a Vietnamese software specialist with a university degree can’t come work in the Czech Republic, said Marcel Winter, head of the Czech-Vietnamese society. He said it was unfair that Vietnam remains on the list of restricted countries.
The Czech Republic, moreover, is still sending foreigners home as part of its “voluntary repatriation programme”. Last Wednesday, the government also stopped issuing long-term visas for the citizens of Uzbekistan.