The number of foreign workers in the Czech Republic has breached 500,000 for the first time in history, according to new data released last week by the Czech Statistical Office, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Industry.
That number has more than tripled since the Czech Republic joined the European Union back in 2004. The amount of foreign workers in the Czech Republic doubled between 2004 and 2008, but began to dip following global economic crises that year.
Since 2011, however, the number has steadily risen.
In recent years, workers from Western European countries have seen the largest percentage rise in the Czech Republic.
Those include an estimated 7,000 German workers, and an additional 15,000 from other European countries including the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain. The majority of these include managers and specialists who work in Prague and Brno.
“Many foreign companies have their head office for Central and Eastern Europe in the Czech Republic,” Lukáš Hendrych of consulting firm BDO, who analyzed the data, told Novinky.cz.
“Expatriates are frequently being transferred here, and the attractiveness of the Czech Republic has grown in recent years. Basically, the quality of life has increased, as well as the number of global projects in which foreigners are involved.”
Approximately 80% of foreign workers in the Czech Republic, however – nearly 400,000 – come from Eastern Europe, with Ukrainians, Slovaks, Russians, and Romanians making up the largest percentage of that group.
While the majority of workers from Ukraine, Romania, and other former Soviet bloc countries are often generalized as unskilled labor – with many in the construction and manufacturing industry – the same isn’t true for workers from Russia or Slovakia.
One significant minority among the Czech working population is on the decline. In 2008, there were roughly 50,000 Vietnamese workers in the the Czech Republic, second only to Slovaks; that number has dipped to about 30,000 in 2018.
A 2008 change in the legislation of granting work visas to citizens of Asian countries has been blamed for the decrease in the Vietnamese workforce in the Czech Republic.