Higher quotas: Czechia announces plan to attract more Filipinos to labor market

The government is also eyeing workers from Vietnam and other Asian countries to help plug the holes in Czechia's labor force.

Thomas Smith ČTK

Written by Thomas SmithČTK Published on 04.11.2023 14:47:00 (updated on 04.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Ministry of the Interior has published a proposal that sets out to bring more people from the Philippines into the Czech labor force amid recently falling numbers of Ukrainians applying for jobs in Czechia.

The quota for accepting migrant low- and medium-skilled Filipino workers will – if the proposal is passed – rise by 5,000 workers, to 10,300. For highly qualified people, the proposal envisages increasing the quotas by a total of 1,500 employees.

On the other hand, as fewer Ukrainians are applying for jobs in the Czech labor market compared to last year (most likely due to already finding work in Czechia or a different EU country), Czechia plans to reduce the annual quota from 38,000 workers to just 11,000.

  • Around 120,000 Ukrainians with temporary protection visas work in Czechia
  • As of end-2022, there were around 4,900 Filipons living in Czechia – the vast majority working

    Source: Czech Statistical Office

Looking to Asia for more workers

Czech media outlet Hospodářské noviny reports that the government hopes to use workers from the Philippines to fill the gaps mainly in agriculture, food-processing, and physical labor vacancies.

"Starting next year, we will increase the quota for foreign employees by 20,000 per year. They should be people from the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, or Vietnam. There is a great demand for them from companies and at the same time they do not worsen the security situation here."

Labor Minister Marian Jurečka speaking to Hospodářské noviny

According to official data, almost 1 million foreigners worked in the Czech Republic as of end-December 2022, comprising some 15 percent of the adult workforce.

Director of the Department of Trade Facilitation at Czechia's Chamber of Commerce Tomáš Zelený says that basic administrative issues – such as Czechia not recognizing a driver's license from the Philippines – can prevent hundreds of Filipinos from doing jobs such as truck driving.

He hopes that the government is able to recognize international documents more widely in order to make integration into the workforce more seasmless.

Simplilfying the application process

Czechia has long attempted to attract foreign workers to the country. This week, the Czech Chamber of Deputies approved an employment legislation amendment, aiming to simplify the entry of foreign nationals into the Czech labor market and reduce administrative complexities. Under envisioned plans, a larger proportion of foreigners will not have to have a work permit, an employee card, or a blue card to perform a job or be employed. 

The extent of the labor shortage

In July, Czech Labor Minister Marian Jurečka announced a significant labor shortage of approximately 200,000 workers in the country. He underscored the critical need to recruit foreign workers to bridge this workforce gap, estimating that this would contribute an additional CZK 40 billion to the national budget. 

Similarly, Prime Minister Petr Fiala echoed the urgency of addressing the issue to prevent an economic slowdown. He emphasized the importance of attracting foreign workers to strengthen Czechia's economy and overall competitiveness.

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