Prague, Czech Republic – The number of foreign workers illegally employed in the Czech Republic has doubled last year.
According to data released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs as part of its report on the fight against illegal employment, there were an estimated 3,800 foreign people working illegally in the Czech Republic in 2018.
This represents a nearly twofold increase compared to 2017, when little more than 2,000 illegal workers from abroad were reported by public authorities.
This impressive hike is mostly due to the massive arrival of Ukrainian workers, according to the report, as well as citizens from Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. At an estimated 120,000 people, Ukrainians are the largest foreign-born community in the Czech Republic, outnumbering both Slovaks and Vietnamese people.
Employers and companies in the Czech Republic have increasingly turned to illegal employment as the country faces significant labour shortages and businesses have trouble finding applicants to fill open positions. The report points out that it’s often cheaper for employers to pay potential fines for employing illegal workers than to skip or refuse orders due to lack of sufficient workforce.
Illegal employment for Ukrainians has risen, including in the construction and manufacturing sectors, despite the establishment a few years ago of a special working visa regime for Ukrainians to facilitate their hiring by local businesses. The Czech government recently decided to double quotas for Ukrainian workers to address those increasingly acute labour shortages.
Last year, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs imposed fines amounting to a total of 150 million Kc (around 6 million euros).