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ČR fears masses of laid-off foreigners

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The Czech Republic will no longer be the haven of Ukrainian bricklayers. By mid-year, there will be some 70,000 unemployed foreigners. That’s what Interior Minister Ivan Langer says. The ministry has already started plotting how to get the foreigners back home. A total of some 285,000 foreigners are working in the Czech Republic right now.

“A whole series of problems can arise. We could get to a situation where there will be Czechs and there will be foreigners. One group will have work and the other will not, and this could give rise to xenophobia. What’s more a foreigner without work is an easy victim for organised crime. And he himself can become a perpetrator,” said Langer on Sunday on Czech Television.

Langer’s methods

For that reason the minister wants to be tough with the foreigners. He has calculated that by the end of June some 68,000 foreigners will lose their work visas. And more lay offs will compound that problem.

Companies in the Pardubice region, for example, are laying off 2,000 foreigners. In Beroun about a thousand will lose their jobs. It will be difficult for them to find work. “They will return home. Either voluntarily or involuntarily,” said Langer.

And he is not just making statements. In about a month, the foreigners’ police will launch a series of controls. They will focus on foreigners’ dormitories, asking for valid documents. Anyone without documents will be deported.

A number of foreigners don’t want to return home. Some had to take out loans to get to the Czech Republic and now they don’t have enough money to pay back.

Vietnamese workers, for instance, spend thousands of dollars on fees and bribes just to get to the Czech Republic, according to the Interior Ministry. Then they have to earn at least CZK 10,000 a month during a year-long legal stay in our country in order to pay back the loans. On top of that, they need money for food and housing.

“It’s these people who will return home and tell others that the Czech Republic is not the place to go to if you want to make money,” said Langer.

The Interior Ministry wants to prevent the influx of more foreigners to the Czech Republic. Along with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Interior Ministry wants to get employment agencies who brought the foreigners here in the first place to take more responsibility.

The road leads out of the Czech Republic only

There are about 2,000 of them in the Czech Republic and the Interior Ministry wants to know how they select the foreigners and how they go about sorting out their documents.

“By the end of the month we will have the first results of the controls. I think the statistics will be interesting,” said Langer.

Now the foreigners have an opportunity to use the government programme and leave voluntarily. But there are spots for only about 2,000 people and about 50 foreigners apply daily.

Along with a free ticket, they will also receive EUR 500. Even so, the cost is still about half of what it would cost to deport foreigners using police assistance.

Foreigners can enter apprenticeships

But the Social Democrats have their own plan. The unemployed foreigners “can maybe carry out public service work or they can enter apprenticeships. A number of them have no education,” said František Bublan, the Social Democrats’ shadow interior minister.

The Social Democrats have other alternatives. If they win the next parliamentary elections, they want to set up a special immigration office. It would unite the foreigners’ police and some of the departments of the Interior Ministry and of NGOs.

According to Bublan, the office should have a branch abroad, for example in Vietnam or in Mongolia. Mongolians constitute the majority of the foreigners who have taken advantage of the government programme to leave the Czech Republic. People from Uzbekistan and Ukraine have also made use of this programme.

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