Foreigners hit record number

Ukrainians make up the largest group, while Americans are less than 2 percent

The Czech Republic now has a record number of foreigners, according to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). Some 464,700 foreigners legally lived in the Czech Republic at the end of 2015, with most coming from other European Union countries. At the end of November 2016, some 493,505 foreigners lived in the country according to preliminary data. Most foreigners are economically active.

Since 2004 the number of foreigners in the Czech Republic has almost doubled, and there has been an increase in the number of people seeking long-term residency permits. Of the 464,700 registered foreigners, some 260,040 had long-term residency permits, and 198,622 had temporary EU/long term permits, while 6,008 had over-90-day visas. An additional 2,892 had asylum status.

In total. at the end of 2015, foreigners made up 4.3 percent of the 10.57 million people in the Czech Republic. That was up from 4.2 percent in 2014 and 4.1 percent in both 2012 and 2011.

The decrease in the number of people coming from outside the EU, which lasted from 2009 to '15, has also stopped. The largest segment of foreigners living in the Czech Republic is Ukrainians at about 23 percent, followed by Slovaks at 22 percent and Vietnamese at 12 percent. People from Russia makes up just 8 percent, followed by Germany at 5 percent and Poland at 4 percent. Just 6,478 people were registered from the United States, coming to 1.4 percent of foreigners and 0.6 percent of the overall population.

More people may come from the EU than is represented in statistics because those people are not required to follow the same registration procedures as non-EU people.

Most foreigners residing in the Czech Republic are economically active. “In 2015 some 407,000 foreigners worked in the Czech Republic, the most in history. Employed citizens of foreign nationality numbered 323,000 and there were 84,000 entrepreneurs,” ČSÚ President Iva Ritschelová said in a press release. The number of employed foreigners since 2006 has increased by 172,000, but the number of entrepreneurs has stagnated.

Three-quarters of foreigners who were employed in 2015 in the Czech Republic came from EU countries. Slovaks prevailed with a 46 percent share. In recent years, the number of Romanians and Bulgarians has grown significantly. The sector of foreigners who do business in the Czech Republic as entrepreneurs had long been dominated by Vietnamese and Ukrainians. Only a third of entrepreneurs who come to us from abroad have origins in the EU.

The average wage in the commercial sector in 2015 amounted to Kč 27,777 and the average salary in the public sector was Kč 27,971. “Employees with foreign citizenship achieve higher earnings than the overall average; citizens of Slovakia earn around Kč 33,226 in wages and Kč 35,604 in the salary sphere. Higher salaries were also earned by citizens of Russia,” said Daniel Chytil, head of the department of labor, migration and equal opportunities at the ČSÚ.

The largest concentration of foreigners is in Prague, where they make up 13.9 percent. The lowest concentration is in the Opava district, where it is 0.9 percent. Some employers complain that they lack qualified staff and the process for bringing in foreign workers is too complicated.

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