The Czech Republic has the lowest jobless rate in the European Union with vacancies now outstripping the registered unemployed. But moves to attract workers from Ukraine are being hampered by red tape. That sparked a lightning visit last week by the Czech labour minister and a raft of reforms are now promised, Chris Johnstone of Radio Praha writes.
Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Jaroslava Němcová spent two-and-half days in Ukraine last week trying to work out why Czech employers complain they simply can’t recruit Ukrainians quickly enough to fill local gaps in the labour force.
In some cases the wait between starting the process to recruit for a long term visa of one year or more and finally fulling all the paperwork and bureaucratic hurdles can take nine months or even up to a year.
The Czech unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in April and there were around 25,000 more vacancies at labour offices than people seeking jobs. Many Czech companies have been warning for months now that they are losing orders because they simply don’t have the workers to fulfil them.
Simplifying the visa and permit steps, grouping demands so that they can be processed quicker, and increased outsourcing of some of the processes so that Czech consulates and embassies have a reduced workload. These are some of the suggestions that will be made in the next weeks to streamline the system. The ministry and chamber of commerce are counting on the average time taken to process applications for Ukrainian workers being halved to around 90 days in total.