By Roy Mabasa
The population Filipinos in the Czech Republic has increased by 43 percent in 2018 following the introduction of Project Philippine Regime for Migrant Workers by the Czech government.
Citing data from the Czech Ministry of Interior, the Philippine Embassy in Prague said the number of Filipinos with long-term visas increased by 453 persons from a total of 1,059 in 2017 to 1,512 in 2018.
The growth can be attributed to the program introduced in 2018 by the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis to fast-track work visas for 1,000 Filipinos per year.
For this year alone, from January to mid-February, there were already 119 applications received by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT).
The current demand for foreign workers from the Philippines is from the manufacturing and automotive industries, including those engaged in the production of metal components and production of processed meat.
The job positions that are filled frequently under the Philippine Regime Project are industrial truck operators, electrical and electronic equipment assemblers, mechanical machinery assemblers, electronics and telecommunication technology installers, and repairers, among others.
The Philippine Embassy noted that with the commencement of the Regime Philippines, the number of Filipinos in the Czech Republic will continue to grow and “it is necessary for the Embassy to oversee the growing concerns of labor-related issues that it currently addresses.”
Of late, the Embassy has already experienced a marked increase in the number of applications received by the Consular Section, which is manned by only one Consul and one staff, for authentication of documents to be used for accreditation with POEA.
“Considering that the Embassy does not have the mandate to verify accreditation requests and job orders, it has sought cooperation with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Milan to address the verification process for job orders of Czech companies as well as the contracts of the OFWs, prior to approval or accreditation of POEA,” the Embassy said in the report posted on its social media account.
The Czech Republic has become an increasingly attractive destination for Filipino workers for its quality of life, safety, and high-labor standards, the Embassy further said.
A Czech official from the Ministry of Industry and Trade informed the Embassy that the Project is “going well” and that the “Project has a positive impact on the business environment” in the Czech Republic.