Prague, July 14 (CTK) – The number of foreign workers in the Czech Republic has decreased by 7% from the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in March to the end of June when 602,500 foreigners were employed, according to new statistical data that the Czech Labor Office has released.
The number of foreign employees dropped by 42,400 over the past three months. This is first of all because many Ukrainians left the country.
The number of foreign employees in the Czech Republic kept increasing during the 2010s and it was the highest last October, at 649,650. But only in 2015 there were as many foreigners working in the country as in 2008 before the global economic crisis, during which their number fell by more than 50,000. However, a low number of foreign employees from the EU left the Czech Republic then and only in the beginning of this crisis.
The number of foreign workers temporarily decreases in the winter months.
About 60 percent of the foreign employees are citizens of the European Union. One third of the foreign employees are from Slovakia. The number of employees from other EU member states decreased by 1 percent from March to June, while that of employees from non-EU countries by 15 percent.
The state of emergency was declared on March 12 and lasted more than two months in the Czech Republic. Many people from abroad returned to their home country. Czech diplomatic offices abroad stopped accepting and processing visa applications and requests for joining foreign workforce programs. The Chamber of Commerce previously said Czech firms need to restart the hiring of foreign workers as soon as possible. It pointed out that it would not threaten Czech workers because there is a lack of people interested in the required professions in the country.
The biggest group of non-EU foreign workers are people from Ukraine. More than 169,000 of them were employed in the Czech Republic at the end of March it dropped by 36,000 to 133,000 at the end of June. This decrease represents 85 percent of the total decrease in foreign workforce.
The number of employees from Poland and Romania dropped by 3,000 and 800, respectively, in the past three months, while that of Slovak employees increased by 1,200 in this period of time. Slovaks are the biggest group of foreign employees on the Czech labor market, with 199,200 working in the country.
The unemployment rate increased only slightly during the coronavirus pandemic, from 3.0 percent in March to 3.7 percent in June.
Czech labor offices registered 269,600 job applicants at the end of June, including 5,400 EU foreigners and 3,200 non-EU foreigners. At the end of the second quarter of the year, the labor offices registered 313,000 job applicants, including 7,600 EU foreigners and 4,800 non-EU foreigners. The offices registered 334,900 vacant jobs then.
When these figures were released, Labor Minister Jana Malacova (Social Democrats, CSSD) said that only elementary education is required for three fourths of the vacant jobs and that the salaries are closely above the minimum wage in these cases.
Number of foreign employees working in the Czech Republic:
Year: Number of foreign employees
March 2020: 644,914
June 2020: 602,513
Note: The number of employees is given for the end of the given year unless a month is stated.
Source: Labour Office, Czech Statistical Office