In Slovakia social partners agree on drafting labor mobility strategy

A strategy for labor mobility for foreigners in Slovakia should be approved to govern short-term as well as long-term conditions for the influx of labor from so-called third (non-EU) countries, the social partners agreed on Monday. The labor mobility strategy is expected to simplify administrative processes when hiring foreign workers and also introduce re-evaluations of professions with labor shortages on a more frequent, probably quarterly basis. Short-term measures are to be adopted by 2020 and long-term ones by 2030. Labor minister Jan Richter (leftist senior ruling Smer) said that after experts agree on some details, he expects the strategy to be submitted to the government on Oct 3 and also to explore the possibility of passing some bills via a fast-tracked procedure. Employers’ union AZZZ vice-president Rastislav Machunka commented that hiring foreigners is the most expensive form of employment and a measure of last resort, but underlined that, given the growing labor shortages, there were no other options. At the same time, the Trade Union Confederation KOZ believes that the influx of labor from non-EU countries must be regulated and made up of qualified people, as the mass influx of foreign labor from third countries could give rise to social risks and reduce social standards.

The growing labor shortages are increasingly becoming the main bottleneck to the economy that will hinder faster expansion going forward. Note however that bridging the gap with foreign workers is only a short-term solution, while the government must instead focus on reforming the education system so as to secure a better match between the labor force and the demand for labor on part of the employers. Unfortunately, more than two years after coming into office, the government has failed to propose and enact a comprehensive education reform.

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