As Prague develops into one Central Europe's main commercial capitals, there are literally hundreds of new building sites in the city, to feed a seemingly unlimited demand for new office and retail space. On many of these building sites you will only rarely hear Czech, as a huge percentage of the workers are migrants from Western Ukraine. There are 100 000 Ukrainian nationals currently thought to be working in the Czech Republic, around half of them without work permits; that's in total about one percent of the Czech population. These migrant workers
For the past year now, the authorities have been running a scheme to lure skilled foreign workers to the Czech Republic as the country's population ages and people go abroad to work. The scheme is still in the trial stages, open to applicants from just three countries - Bulgaria, Croatia, and Kazakhstan. Under the scheme, potential immigrants are given fast-track access to residence permits, allowing them to settle permanently in this country after just two and a half years instead of the usual ten. One of them is Mladin Barbalic, a 40-year-old civil engineer from Croatia who came to Prague in 1994. Kay Grigar spoke to him.
There's a mix of stories on today's front pages, from the launch of Krystof II - the second nationwide police crackdown on bad driving - to allegations of serious mismanagement of the entrance exams for one of the most prestigious academic bodies in the country: the law faculty of Charles University. LIDOVE NOVINY, meanwhile, features a front-page photo of Spanish heir to the throne Prince Filipe, showing off his bride-to-be, 31-year-old TV presenter Letizia Ortiz. And why that is of interest to anyone in the Czech Republic is beyond me...
As you may already have heard on Radio Prague, the Czech Republic needs an influx of qualified foreign workers. A country with an aging population and a declining birth rate needs new blood and the government is taking steps to smooth the way. In 2004 the Czech Republic will join the European Union but as one of ten newcomers it is unlikely to attract many work candidates from the well-to-do EU states. On the other hand, as a new EU member it will be much more attractive to qualified workers from the East. Rather than letting that process take
The Czech Cabinet is launching a long term project which should address the negative demographic trend in the Czech Republic - an aging population and a low birth rate. According to statistics, the Czech Republic, whose current population is just over ten million, will lack a total of 420,000 skilled labourers in twenty years' time.