Number of Foreign Staff in Slovakia Doubled in Two Years

(Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, February 13 (TASR) – Even though the number of foreigners with jobs in Slovakia has almost doubled in the past two years, Slovakia remains a net exporter of labour, an analysis by UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia revealed on Monday.

According to the Statistics Office, around 150,000 Slovaks work abroad holding short-term jobs lasting below one year, most of them in Austria and the Czech Republic. “The real number of Slovaks working abroad is far higher, however,” stated the bank’s analysts.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry used health insurance registries to estimate the number of Slovaks working abroad, discovering that as many as 300,000 people have left Slovakia in the past 15 years. The highest emigration rate concerned eastern Slovakia, with as much as 6 percent of the local population going abroad.

While the biggest wave of emigration was observed shortly after the country joined the EU in 2004, most of these people returned within two years, and the labour drain currently concerns some 15,000 Slovaks annually.

“The number of Slovaks working abroad could exceed the number of foreigners employed in Slovakia by as many as ten times,” claim the UniCredit analysts.

Although Romania has been the richest source of foreign labour for Slovakia for a long time, Serbs have posted a massive increase as of recently. Other nationals working in Slovakia most frequently include Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Croats, Italians and Koreans, with the latter two nationalities often holding managerial posts in companies originating from their own countries.

“While Bratislava-based shared services centres have many foreign staff, foreigners in Slovakia still predominantly work in jobs that don’t require an education and provide lower salaries, which are thereby less attractive for local people,” said the analysts.

The distribution of foreign staff is quite uneven, with the highest share in Trnava district, which has an urgent lack of labour, but surprisingly high numbers of foreign workers can also be found in some areas with high unemployment, including the districts of Revuca (Banska Bystrica region) and Svidnik (Presov region).