One-fifth of Prague workers are foreigners

While there is a high demand for skilled labor, the majority do manual work

Prague lacks enough workers to meet the demands for labor, especially qualified positions. The gap is filled by foreigners who account for some 200,000 employees in the city, or some one-fifth of the workforce, according to an analysis by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR).

This figure is higher than the national average. While at least every fifth active worker working on the Prague labor market is a foreigner, the average in the Czech Republic is one in 10, the IPR study states.

One out of every three employed foreigners in the Czech Republic works in Prague.

Foreigners have become an irreplaceable labor source for Prague, at least in the medium term, according to the IPR. The number of employed foreigners in Prague increased by 85,000 between 2011 and ’16. The IPR based its study on government statistics.

But not all of the work that foreigners do is highly skilled. Foreign workers are mostly employed in construction, commerce, accommodation and hospitality. In recent years there has been a large increase in administrative and support activities such as cleaning work or security activities, the number of workers in these areas rose five-fold between 2010 and ’17.

A separate study commissioned by Prague City Hall conducted by the Sociological Institute of the Academy of Science showed the average age of foreigners in Prague is 38 years old, with 38 percent having university education and 44 percent secondary school education. Foreigners with only with primary school education was under 5 percent. Most foreigners in Prague live in the city center.

This study relied on a questionnaire answered by nearly 1,000 foreigners.

Prague has the highest concentration of foreigners from outside the EU, while the border areas of the Czech Republic have large numbers of Slovaks, Poles or Germans.

The exception is the Vietnamese who are spread evenly and in high concentration at the German border.

The number of foreigners rose from 61,203 in 1996 to 206,656 in 2018. Two-thirds of foreigners in Prague are citizens of non-EU countries. At the end of June 2018, according to the study, most were citizens of Ukraine at 49,306, Russia at 23,338, Vietnam at 12,765, the US at 6,556) and China at 4,967. Prague has a population of 1.3 million.

Approximately half of the respondents had permanent residence and about 45 percent of their long-term residence permits. A very small number had asylum.

The AV study said that successful assimilation relied on the knowledge of the Czech language, and they recommended strengthening Czech language courses and educating some Czech officials so that they can communicate with foreigners.

The Czech Republic a whole has a population of 10.63 million, according to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). At the end of 2018, there were some 566,931 foreigners, of which 290,679 had permanent residency.

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