Czechia to welcome more foreign workers from the Balkans, Caucasus

Due to a shortage of Ukrainian migrant workers, the state is eyeing other countries to fill in the gap in Czechia's labor market – namely in agriculture. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.11.2023 11:16:00 (updated on 14.11.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

Starting next year, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Georgia, and North Macedonia will be eligible for special work visas to help fill needed jobs in Czech agriculture, according to a draft regulation made by the government.

The eligible countries could collectively send up to 1,000 workers annually to domestic fields thanks to the expanded visa program.

Workers plug the gap and pose no risk

Previously, only Ukrainians could access such visas for agricultural work in the Czech Republic. However, since being invaded by Russia, the number of Ukrainian workers claiming special visas has dwindled.

The government is therefore looking to the Balkans and Caucasus region. "In several professions requiring experience, specific qualifications or physically demanding activity, long-term and in-demand positions have not been filled," said the Ministry of Agriculture. Speaking of the nations eligible for special visas, the Agriculture Ministry said: "These countries do not represent a security risk."

The move would raise the annual quota for such visas to 2,500, up from an initial 1,500, according to pre-negotiated agreements. It remains unclear if the plan will win final approval. But if enacted, it could bring the Czech Republic closer to the estimated 1,000 farm jobs that would need filling in coming years.

Govt. attracting other Asian workers

The government is planning similar steps to attract foreign workers from other countries to Czechia. Earlier this month, the Czech Ministry of the Interior published a proposal that would double the quota (to 10,300 people) for accepting migrant low- and medium-skilled workers from the Philippines. The state is also looking to increase the number of special work visas for people from Taiwan, Indonesia, and India.

In early November, the Czech Chamber of Deputies greenlighted an amendment in employment legislation to streamline the process for foreign nationals entering the Czech labor market, with the main aim of minimizing bureaucratic hurdles. The proposed changes would mean that a greater number of foreigners wouldn't need a work permit, an employee card, or a blue card to work or be employed in the country.

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