Building an Integration System: Policies to Support Immigrants’ Progression in the Czech Labor Market
Accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004, increased foreign investment, and rapid economic growth throughout the mid-2000s made the Czech Republic a significant new migrant destination. In response to this growth, the Czech Republic has taken steps over the last decade to develop a coherent set of immigrant integration measures. However, funding constraints have limited the scope of these programs and the number of beneficiaries they can serve, and reliance on both EU funding and small nonprofit organizations to deliver services has contributed to a fragmented landscape of support. The Czech education and training system has been widely criticized for failing to meet employers’ needs, slowing down workers’ productivity, and limiting opportunities for career progression.
This report is part of a research project funded by the European Union and conducted in collaboration with the International Labour Office. The case studies in the first phase of the project consider the influence of individual characteristics and broader economic conditions on the employment prospects of foreign-born workers. The reports in the second phase evaluate the effectiveness of integration and workforce development policies in helping foreign-born workers overcome these barriers and move up into middle-skilled positions that pay a family-sustaining wage. The six case study countries are the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Unlike immigrants in many other destination countries, recent cohorts have entered the Czech labor market with relative ease, partially due to the significant proportion of labor migrants in the immigrant flow. However, many of these workers arrived to fill demand in low-skilled occupations, with only limited evidence of upward mobility into more skilled positions over time.
This report presents an overview of Czech integration policies, with a special focus on economic integration. It focuses on policies designed to support migrants’ incorporation in the Czech labor market, and assesses the extent to which these policies facilitate migrants’ upward mobility into more skilled work. The report examines policies in three major areas: employment services, language training, and vocational training. It also explains the roles of employers and civil society in immigrant integration, and discusses the significant institutional and policy changes that will affect integration outcomes in coming years.
II. Overview of the Czech Labor Market
A. Main Features of the Czech Labor Market
B. Migrant Workers’ Position in the Czech Labor Market
III. Policies to Support Labor Market Integration
A. General Features of Integration Policy
B. Responsibilities for Integration Policy and Implementation
C. Employment Services
D. Language Instruction
E. Vocational Training
IV. Integration Policy Issues and Challenges
A. Coordination and Fragmentation
B. Financing Integration
C. The Role of Employers and Labor Unions
V. Conclusions and Recommendations