The number of employees from abroad is growing again, they are no longer afraid of relocation

25.1.2022

Despite the pandemic and fears of higher fluctuation of foreign employees, companies are intensively hiring and looking for workers from abroad. After the slowdown in 2020, when many foreigners feared relocation and even returned to their home countries, last year their number increased by more than 6,000 in the sector of business, customer and IT services. This year, according to the plans of Czech centers, the number of foreign experts in IT, finance, logistics, and data analytics will increase by another 10,000. In order to ensure people’s safety, support their satisfaction and fight against fluctuation of foreign employees during the pandemic, 17 % of employers from this sector now allow their people to work from home from their home countries, and another 36 % of companies are considering this model. This follows from a recent survey by the ABSL association published on www.absl.cz/report2022.

Foreign workers have an increasingly important role on the Czech labor market, and some industries can no longer do without them. Besides business services sector, where experts from abroad make up 44 % of the total number of 145,000 employees, most foreigners work in manufacturing, administration, trade and construction. While in the case of manufacturing or construction, workers mainly use short-term visas, in business services sector employees usually work based on long-term visas.

„In the first year of the pandemic, many employers faced the problem of higher fluctuation of foreign workers, who returned to their home countries due to fears of the situation and safety. Although about a third of business services centers now experience higher fluctuation of foreign employees and 36 % of employers register fewer applicants from abroad than before the pandemic, the situation has stabilized relatively, as evidenced by the growth in the total number of foreign experts employed in our sector,“ says Jonathan Appleton, director of the ABSL association.

According to him, many employers are fighting against the growth of foreigners’ fluctuation by allowing them to work from their home countries. Currently, 17 % of employers offer this option, and another 36 % are considering it.

The stabilization of the situation is also evidenced by the statistics of the Foreigners.cz agency: In 2021, compared to 2020, we recorded an increase in the demand for real estate leases to foreign nationals by 37%. Their number thus stabilized at almost the level of 2019,“ sais Andrea Tkačuková, CEO Foreigners.cz. A similar voice sounds from companies. For example, in SAP Services, the number and share of foreign employees is increasing every year. A smaller slowdown in their recruitment was evident between 2019 and 2020, but in 2021 the number of foreign workers increased by 24%. In total, they already make up 60% of all employees and they consist of 80 nationalities.

The business services sector currently employs almost a tenth of all foreign workers in the Czech Republic and is thus the largest Czech employer of foreigners. As the centers continue to expand their reach and provide services to a growing number of countries, this trend will intensify. „Currently, our foreign colleagues contribute 2 % to the Czech GDP and generate about $ 4 billion a year,“ says Jonathan Appleton, adding that 31 % of Czech centers employ even more foreigners than Czechs. On average, the centers provide services in 8 languages, but a total of 29 languages are spoken in the sector. As many as 39 % of Czech centers provide services worldwide, 91 % within Western Europe, and 29 % of centers also serve Asian countries, which is one of the consequences of the pandemic. Local companies have not been able to ensure smooth operation in times of pandemic constraints.

Despite the considerable economic impact and contribution of this sector, almost all business services centers still face the administrative complications in employing foreigners.

Everything is still greatly complicated by bureaucratic burdens and contradictory information at various embassies and the Ministry of the Interior. We also consider the amendment to the Act on the Residence of Foreigners in the Czech Republic from 2021 to be a step backwards, which complicated the processes around family members of relocating foreigners and thus discouraged many candidates,“ says Andrea Tkačuková.

Simplifying very complex immigration processes would help ensure a continued arrival of international investors and talents.

„We believe that the new government will help in this regard to support the development of our sector, which is changing the Czech Republic into a country of innovation and highly skilled work,“ adds Jonathan Appleton.

Regions that are served from Czech business, customer, and IT service centers:

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