Foreign workers are playing an increasingly important role in the Czech labour market, especially in some sectors of the national economy. Whereas in 2004 (after the Czech Republic joined the EU) foreigners operating on the Czech labour market accounted for less than 4% of the total number of employees in the country, at the end of 2020, the number of foreigners employed in the Czech Republic reached 741,967 and foreigners accounted for 14.2% of total employment in the Czech economy. According to statistics, most foreigners work in the manufacturing industry (28,7% of all foreigners working in the Czech Republic), followed by administrative and support service activities, construction, wholesale and retail.
In 2020, even though the total year-on-year growth in the number of foreign employees decreased slightly due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting the issuing of work permits on hold, and due to the introduction of measures restricting travel between states, it still reached a value of about 22,000. While in 2020 the number of foreign nationals from the EU member states increased only slightly year-on-year, the number of employees from third countries continues to grow significantly even despite the ongoing pandemic.
“Foreign workers play an important role in the domestic labour market and some sectors cannot do without them,”comments Jarmila Marešová, a migration expert from the Czech Statistical Office – Labor, Migration and Equal Opportunities Department.
Foreigners can do business in the Czech Republic in the same way as Czech citizens, provided they meet the necessary requirements. Foreigners can be officially involved in gainful activities either as employees or as entrepreneurs (self-employed persons). The numbers of both increased year-on-year in 2020 irrespective of the worldwide economic decline. While the number of foreigners-employees increased by 3.6% last year (total 644,164), the number of holders of trade licenses increased by 4.3% compared to 2020 (97,803). However, foreigners may also establish legal entities or establish organizational units of their company abroad in the Czech Republic.
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In terms of the type of registration, the number of information cards of EU citizens saw the biggest increase. In contrast, the lowest increase over the period was recorded for holders of so-called EU Blue Cards with only 614 new incomers. Legally residing foreigners include both third-country nationals and EU citizens who have obtained a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic, third-country nationals with long-stay visas or long-term residence, as well as EU citizens and their family members with registered temporary residence.
In 2020, men predominated among foreign employees in the Czech Republic (62.8%). A higher predominance of men is apparent especially among the citizens coming from the EU countries, the proportion of men is slightly lower among third-country nationals. In contrast, women make up the majority (90.7%) of foreign employees from Thailand. The over-representation of women is also evident, for example, among foreign workers of Russia (57.1%), Kazakhstan (54.5%) or Mongolia (51.1%).
Source: Czech Statistical Office