Prague, Czech Republic – Although still relatively few in absolute terms, Filipino workers in the Czech Republic are among the fastest-growing foreign-born community in the country.
According to provisional data from the Czech Ministry of Interior’s Directorate of the Alien Police Service, the number of long-term workers from the Philippines in the Czech Republic has skyrocketed in 2018, increasing by 43% from slightly more than 1.000 in 2017 to over 1.500 Filipino workers at the end of 2018. The figures have tripled in less than five years, with only 500 workers from the Philippines registered in the Czech Republic in 2014.
This increase is mainly due to the introduction of a special migrant workers program for Filipinos implemented in 2018 by the Czech government and seeking to fast-track work visas for 1.000 Filipino workers per year. A similar scheme had already been used in the past to facilitate the hiring of workers from Ukraine and Mongolia.
With a year-on-year increase of 43%, Filipino workers are one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the Czech Republic. Although much smaller in size than other Asian communities in the country, the number of Filipino workers is increasing much faster than immigrants from India (23% growth year-on-year), Mongolia (+15%), South Korea (+11%), China (+9%) or Japan (+6%). Only Nepalese workers are being drawn to the Czech Republic at a faster rate (more than 60% increase last year) than Filipinos.
And the trend seems to be intensifying, with nearly 120 applicants in the first month of the year, according to the Philippines Embassy in Prague. To facilitate the process, the Czech embassy in Manila published a list of authorized Philippine recruitment agencies deploying Filipino citizens to the Czech Republic and facilitating the administrative procedures with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) – while also warning against the rise of illegal employment agencies in the Czech Republic.
According to the Philippines ambassador to the Czech Republic Ombra Jainal, the country has been “an increasingly attractive destination for Filipino workers” for a wide range of reasons, from its high quality of life to the country’s overall level of safety and numerous employment opportunities.
The embassy stated that most of the workers from the Philippines are employed in the manufacturing sector and automotive industry, pillar of the Czech economy, often as industrial truck operators, mechanical machinery and electrical equipment assemblers, among others. With Czech businesses and companies facing important labor shortages, the government has been trying to facilitate the hiring of foreign workers from third countries, most notably from Ukraine, Serbia, Mongolia and the Philippines.