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Austria reluctant to open up labour market

AUSTRIA will not open up its labour market for Slovakia at least until the end of 2009, the daily SME reported. Next year, old EU countries will be revising their decision on opening their labour markets for new EU members.

Although Austria has not yet made its final decision, Ingrid Nowotna of the Austrian economy ministry said that the chancellor and the economy minister have already suggested that the restrictions on Slovaks working in Austria will stay in place for at least the next three years.

Austrians are concerned about the possibility of an influx of cheap labour. Slovaks, Czechs and Poles are often willing to work for much lower wages than locals.

Currently, Austria legally employs around 8,000 people from Slovakia. Experts are refusing to speculate how many Slovaks are working in Austria illegally.

Compiled by Magdalena MacLeod from press reports
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