Czech market needs to attract a foreign workforce, but politicians still demonize migrants

A new report says a comprehensive and long-term strategy for immigration policy would help the Czech Republic to be more competitive.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 19.05.2021 14:50 (updated on 19.05.2021)

The Czech public sees immigration in the last decade primarily as a threat, but the Czech market needs a foreign workforce and also needs to make efforts to attract foreign workers, according to a newly released survey by experts from Mendel University in Brno and the Metropolitan University in Prague.

The Czech Republic does not have a comprehensive and long-term strategy for immigration policy that would be based on an analysis of international pledges and needs of the labor market. Such a strategy would support the competitiveness of the Czech Republic in making it an attractive place for work and life in a broader European context, the expert study on risks and challenges of the Czech migration policy in context of the "migrant crisis" states.

Czech politicians often emphasize the existing security and economic risks of migration. Most politicians were, for example, against the refugee quotas set in the European Union.

"Politicians and representatives of relevant public administration institutions emphasize the prevailing link between migration and various security risks and emphasize economic problems. The benefits of migration, especially for the Czech economy and other spheres of life, are completely lagging behind, as is the acceptance of migration as a common part of the globalized world and its demographic aspects," Robert Stojanov, from the Faculty of Business and Economics of Mendel University, said in a press release.

From the refugee crisis in 2015, Czech politicians usually say they are against migration, but the number of foreigners working mainly in industrial branches increased. Mostly Ukrainians come to the Czech Republic.

"The Czech public still perceives migration as a rather unwelcome necessity. The state practically does not support the establishment of workers from abroad in the Czech Republic and further integration." Mendel University said on Twitter in its announcement of the report.

The anti-migration sentiment from Czech politicians that prevailed during the migration crisis in 2015 actually went hand in hand with the admission of a large number of migrants in the industries that required it. 

"This created a fundamental discrepancy between the prevailing negative political discourse on migration and real policies enabling large-scale immigration for work, pointing to the de facto recognition of migration as a need of the Czech economy," the report says.

Data from the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry show that short-term labor migration increased in the recent years. In 2019, there were 49,343 short-term work permits for three months or less, while in 2016 there were merely 3,283 of them. There was a decrease only in the coronavirus year of 2020, down to 12,855. Stays of 12 to 24 months increased from 13,760 in 2016 to 64,083 in 2020.

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