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Austrian and German labour markets are opened to Slovaks

Germany and Austria were the last two countries in the European Union to open their labour markets to citizens of newer EU countries, including Slovakia, but did so on May 1 when the seven-year transition period expired, the TASR newswire reported.

Germany and Austria were the last two countries in the European Union to open their labour markets to citizens of newer EU countries, including Slovakia, but did so on May 1 when the seven-year transition period expired, the TASR newswire reported.

Experts from the Central-European Institute for Labour Research view the move as a positive one.

"The countries that hesitated to open their labour markets lost the chance to gain experienced employees, who went to Great Britain or Ireland instead," Martin Kahanec from the Institute told TASR, adding that opening their markets now gives them a second chance to gain experienced migrants.

According to Slovak Labour Minister Jozef Mihál, the brain-drain is a sad reality for Slovakia, but it is easy to understand why people leave for a better job.

"This is very sad when a young graduate ends up among the unemployed or leaves to work in neighbouring Austria or in Germany, where he uses his knowledge for much better money, stays there and won't come back to Slovakia again. This is a great loss for the state, which has financed studies from taxpayers' money," said Mihál, adding that the Slovak government has the ambition to reduce the salary gap between Slovakia and Austria. The average salary in Austria is around double that in Slovakia.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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