Czechia approves proposal to increase visa quotas, addressing labor shortage

The change will also reduce the quota of special visas granted to Ukrainian refugees due to dwindling demand. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 14.12.2023 11:00:00 (updated on 14.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech cabinet has approved a new proposal increasing quotas for workers from the Philippines and a host of other countries while reducing limits for Ukrainians. Amid the country's persistent labor shortage, the Labor Ministry wants to attract more foreign workers.

Appealing to Filipino and other Asian workers

Meeting Wednesday, officials approved raising the application quota for Filipinos seeking business visas or employment cards from 5,000 to 10,300, according to Labour Minister Marian Jurečka.

For highly skilled applicants, the proposal foresees hiking quotas up to 1,750 across different countries that are part of Czechia’s program to attract skilled workers – these also include India and Indonesia. The current quota level at all Czech embassies worldwide is set at 56,810 applications per year.

Labor and social affairs ministries' statistics indicated that around 905,000 foreigners were employed in the Czech Republic in 2022. 

Lower cap on Ukrainian visas

The government has also agreed to lower Ukraine's quota for special worker visas to 11,000, as the current 38,000-person allotment isn't close to being met. However, Ukrainian refugees are still able to travel to Czechia and seek temporary protection, which would give them full employment rights in the country.

The reduced Ukrainian cap primarily targets people not fighting in the Russia-Ukraine war and Ukrainian citizens living elsewhere in Europe, the Interior Ministry said. However, the government has agreed to continue to let Ukrainians apply for residence permits and work visas at Czech embassies in Ukraine even if they have not had temporary residence or protection granted by the Czech Republic before.

Reaching out to the Balkans

The government plans to increase the number of work visas for people in farming, food, and forestry jobs from 1,500 to 2,500. This change applies to workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, and North Macedonia.

Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný explained that there aren't enough workers in agriculture, especially during harvest time when there are 8,000 to 10,000 unfilled positions. “In a situation where we have, in principle, minimal unemployment, we have no place to take workers, especially in the livestock sector," Výborný told journalists this week.

The construction industry in Czechia is also short of around 60,000 workers, and transport firms warn of a deficit of 25,000 to 28,000 professional drivers within the next year.

The Czech government said earlier this year that, via its new special visa measures, it aims to increase the number of foreign workers in the country by 20,000 annually.

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