Icelander Davíd Arnórsson has been a baker all his life. He ran a successful bakery in Iceland, but always dreamt of setting up a business abroad. Two years ago, he moved to the Czech Republic, opening a bakery called Arctic Bakehouse at Prague’s Újezd, together with his friend and business partner, Gudbjartur Gudbjartsson. Their sourdough breads and Nordic pastries became an instant hit with both the locals and tourists.
Since June 2016, when the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, the number of British nationals living and working in the Czech Republic has been steadily growing. According to data released by the Czech Labour Office and the Ministry of Interior, the number of British employees in the Czech Republic has risen by more than a third. There has also been a 55 percent increase in the number of British nationals who filed for permanent residence in this country.
The Czech economy is increasingly dependent on foreign labour. According to
figures released by the Czech Statistics Office foreign workers made up 13
percent of the labour force last year. In 2010 it was just 6 percent.
The majority of foreign workers in the country are Ukrainians, Slovaks and Vietnamese nationals, but there is also a growing number of workers from Russia, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania.
According to the last available figures there are 567,000 foreign workers registered in the country, of which 290,000 have permanent residency, 275,000 are here on a temporary basis and 2,500 are foreigners who have been granted or are seeking asylum in the country.
The number of doctors from countries outside the European Union working in
the Czech Republic keeps increasing. According to the Institute for
Postgraduate Medical Education (IPVZ), there were nearly 1,650 doctors from
the third countries working in Czechia in 2018, compared to 200 a decade
Most of the doctors come from Ukraine, Russia or Belarus. In order to work in the Czech Republic, they have to pass an aptitude test. The number of those who pass the exam has dropped in recent years, with the success rate currently ranging between 20 and 30 percent.
The number of government programs for the employment of foreigners in Czech
companies will be halved as of September 1, the President of the Chamber of
Commerce Vladimír Dlouhý told reporters on Friday. The present six
programs will be reduced to three and the conditions for including workers
and employers in the program will be unified.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade will only handle employers' applications for highly qualified employees or researchers, while the Chamber of Commerce will assist companies with all other employee applications.
In the transformed Qualified Employee Program, the Chamber will accept applications from companies for workers from Ukraine, Montenegro, Serbia, the Philippines, India, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Mongolia. The government sets individual annual quotas for each country.
From September the quota for workers from Ukraine will also be gradually increased to 40,000 per year. So far it has been 19,600 people.
An amendment to the law on foreigners, in effect as of the beginning of August, has brought a series of changes concerning mainly foreigners from non-EU countries. Among other things, it introduces compulsory integration courses and quotas for economic migration. But, according to migration experts, the law is excessively restrictive.
Just over 3,200 foreign doctors are currently working in the country,
according to data from the Czech Medical Chamber (ČLK).
Slovaks are by far the most numerous, with an estimated 2,800 working here. There are also hundreds of Ukrainians, Russians, Poles and Belarusians.
The proximity of Slavic languages and poorer working conditions in their home countries are said to be the main factors for the influx.
Labour inspectors last year uncovered almost 4,600 people working illegally
in the Czech Republic. This was considerably higher than the figure for
2017, an official said on Wednesday. Employers were fined a total of over
CZK 151 million for hiring undocumented workers last year.
Some 80 percent of those caught working illegally in 2018 were from outside the European Union. Of those from inside the EU, the majority were Czech citizens, with the others mainly coming from Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.