The number of workers from Southern European states seeking work in the Czech Republic is on the rise. Italians are the most numerous, while the figure for Spanish and Portuguese nationals employed by Czech firms has tripled in just a decade, Hospodářské noviny reported.
Several countries in the south of Europe – such as Greece, Spain and Italy – have been beset by high unemployment rates in recent years, leading increasing numbers of their citizens to seek work abroad, including in the Czech Republic.
For their part, many Czech employers are crying out for reinforcements as the country is enjoying (or, depending on one’s outlook, suffering from) the lowest unemployment rate in the whole of Europe.
There are a record numbers of vacant positions on the Czech labour market and the Czech Chamber of Commerce estimates that domestic companies are lacking a full 300,000 employees.
A spokesperson for the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Miroslav Diro, told Hospodářské noviny that southerners were the most strongly represented Europeans in terms of the upswing of foreigners on this country’s labour market.
Mr. Diro said his organisation estimates that there are presently around 3,500 Italians, 1,900 Spaniards, 1,000 Greeks and 700 Portuguese employed by Czech companies.
The Chamber of Commerce says that the number of Spanish and Portuguese nationals in Czech jobs had tripled in the last decade. In the case of Greeks and Italians there has been a two-fold increase.
The largest Czech recruitment agency, Manpower, was previously able to find sufficient hires in fellow ex-Eastern Bloc states, such as Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria, Hospodářské noviny said.
But two years ago Manpower began seeking candidates for Czech jobs in Greece. Today the firm gets 150 to 200 applications from Greece monthly, most frequently for jobs in programming or factory work, a representative said.
It is easier to make hires from countries such as Italy or Portugal than from non-European Union states. There are government projects in place to smooth recruiting from Ukraine and Mongolia, but still it takes around six months to process such applicants, Hospodářské noviny wrote.
David Dvořák of international HR agency Hays told the business daily that Prague was the most attractive city on the continent for Southern Europeans, in some cases due to recommendations from compatriots already based in the city.
The Czech capital is also highly rated internationally, with Expat Insider rating it as the best place to work abroad in Europe, Hospodářské noviny said.
France is also getting in on the act, with the country’s embassy in Prague having launched a website aimed at helping French graduates acquire experience at Czech companies.
At present the site is offering 200 positions in which Czech is not a requirement but French or English are desirable languages, Hospodářské noviny reported.