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We don’t want to work in Germany

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Discrimination! Czechs are not allowed to work in Germany! Newspaper headlines will probably again quote politicians, who will loudly protest that Germany wants to official request that the restriction of Czech on its labour market be extended for another two years, and will be one of the few EU countries that will use the maximum seven-year period to ban EU new-comers from their labour market. According to sources in close contact with the German government, the request is already prepared and will be filed in the next few weeks. Austria, Denmark and Belgium will probably also request similar extensions.

But who really cares these days? Just the politicians – on both sides, who use the opening of the labour market as an election campaign for the Germans and as a way to enforce the feeling of oppression on the Czech side. But Czechs don’t even want to move abroad to work.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, only 3% of Czechs who move do so because of work. There were just over 40,000 Czechs working in the older EU member countries last year, according to the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs. That is not even half a percent of the Czech population. And are the statistics for the labour market in the 15 older EU members that have not imposed any restrictions.

So why should Czechs mind that they can’t go to work in Germany? According to international agreements, up to 2,140 Czechs can obtain a work permit for a limited period in Germany. Last year only 101 people used this option. The labour market is also fully open to highly qualified individuals with high incomes or for those applicants whose German employer can prove that employee is needed specifically.

Getting a trade licence in Germany these days is also not a problem. And yet, Czech politicians won’t fail to mention their request to limit the work restrictions at every bilateral meeting. So why are Czech politicians wasting time by constantly putting pressure on the Germans to remove the restrictions and why don’t they focus on things that they really want? We will need to wait and see what topic the Czechs will come up two years from now, when the labour market is fully open, to reignite their feelings of discrimination by the Germans.

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