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Many Ukrainian workers coming to ČR through Poland

Thousands of Ukrainian workers are coming to the Czech Republic through Poland since this is easier than waiting for Czech visas, daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Monday.

Czech firms urgently need labour force from the East and this “semi-legal Polish path” is the only possibility for them to get such employees quickly.

The paper points to the online supermarket company, where the police recently detained 85 Ukrainians whom a Polish labour agency sent to the Czech Republic. This is just one case of many though there are no official statistics of this kind.

“I estimate that thousands of foreigners are entering our country this way. The Polish path helps fill the vacancies in Czech firms for which we have had no staff for long,” Jaroslava Rezlerova, general director of the ManpowerGroup and president of the Association of Personnel Services Providers, told LN.

Other job mediators as well as the Czech Chamber of Commerce have confirmed this trend.

“Firms suffer from an acute lack of people and if the state does not make the employment of foreigners easier, similar cases may repeat,” Chamber of Commerce spokesman Miroslav Diro said.

LN writes that this process is risky since employees can only be sent from Poland to another EU country on the basis of a clear relation between the firm and its employee’s task in the foreign country.

However, many Ukrainians are heading for the Czech Republic with a Polish contract directly without having worked in Poland at all. This is why Czech firms risk that these workers might be expelled if the foreigner police reveal them.

Rezlerova admits that this practice is illegal, but she blames the Czech government for not having solved the problem for long.

It has been more and more complicated to get Ukrainian workers to the Czech Republic legally. Unlike the neighbouring Poland where working visas are often issued within a week, Czech authorities process the same applications for up to six months, LN writes.

According to official statistics 81,209 Ukrainians had permanent residence and another 29,036 temporary residence in the Czech Republic at the end of last year.

Czech employers need to fill some 140,000 vacancies at present. They mainly seek qualified manual workers as well as drivers, warehousemen, bakers and so on.

A Ukrainian worker who seeks a job in the Czech Republic can either apply for an employee card, combining resident and work permits, individually or hope that the Czech firm with which he wants to work has voluntarily joined the “Special Regime Ukraine” government programme government that was launched last summer. It should help get Ukrainian workforce to the Czech Republic quickly.

Within this programme, firms offering vacancies register with the Industry and Trade Ministry, choose Ukrainians from its list and apply for employer cards for them without an obligatory electronic registration in the Visapoint system.

A total of 4735 job applications (from 361 firms) have been included in the regime as of March 13, 2017. Nevertheless it still lasts several months to process an application.

Polish authorities are much more flexible in this respect. They issued more than one million visas to Ukrainians citizens last year. The Czech programme is supposed to process only 8300 job applications a year, while Czech firms would welcome many times higher number of foreign workers, LN says.

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