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Number of Foreign Workers Rises By 30,700 to 823,900 in 2023

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The Czech Republic saw its number of foreign workers rise by almost 30,700 in 2023, reaching over 823,900 in December, roughly 2.5 times more than at the end of 2015, according to statistical data from the Labor Office. More than a third of those are Ukrainian nationals. 

According to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU), there were a total of 4.23 million workers in the Czech Republic in the first three quarters of last year, meaning the share of foreigners is close to one fifth.

The number of foreign nationals on the Czech labour market has been rising steadily, except for a temporary drop during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the end of last year, labour offices registered a total of 823,945 foreign nationals employed in the Czech Republic. Of these, just under 409,800 came from EU countries.

A total of 285,545 workers came from Ukraine, including 149,500 women and 136,000 men. The second largest group were Slovak workers, numbering 216,200 at the end of 2023.

Since 2015, the number of foreign workers on the Czech labour market has risen by 2.5 times. In December 2015, the labour offices registered 321,956 foreign workers.

The number of Ukrainian workers has increased almost seven times since then. In 2015, about 41,800 Ukrainians worked in the country. From the end of 2021 to the end of last year, the number grew by more than 90,000, as war refugees found jobs.

The number of Slovak employees grew 1.4 times from December 2015 to the end of 2023.

The number of employees from EU countries has increased 1.7 times in that period.

The Czech Republic has an ageing population. As the number of seniors increases, the share of people of working age will decrease. Economists have warned that the shortage of labour is a major obstacle to economic growth in the Czech Republic, and the country cannot do without migrant workers.

The share of foreign workers has been gradually increasing. CSU previously reported that in 2010, foreigners made up 5.5% of the workforce. By 2019, the share had tripled to 15%, and last year was close to 20%, according to available data.

The Czech Republic has long been one of the EU countries with the lowest unemployment. Companies are complaining of a labour shortage and asking for workers from abroad. The government increased some quotas last year. Labour Minister Marian Jurecka said recently that the cabinet could discuss further increases this year if necessary.

The Labour Ministry’s amendment on employment proposes a new system for hiring foreign workers, intended to make the process easier for vetted employers. A points system would be used to evaluate foreign applicants. Migrant workers could receive points for their education, experience, knowledge of Czech and other languages, as well as their earnings, i.e. tax and state contributions. Easier access to the Czech labour market would be granted to highly qualified people and in-demand professions.

Number of foreign employees in the Czech Republic in December of selected years

Source: Labor Office’s statistics on employment of foreign nationals
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