SLOVAK citizens are now able to work in Austria and Germany under the same conditions as local workers after the two countries opened their labour markets on May 1 to citizens from central and eastern EU countries, including Slovakia.
Austria and Germany were the last two EU countries to open their labour markets, after keeping their doors closed for the maximum period of seven years after eight CEE countries joined the EU in 2004.
The SITA newswire wrote that the action finally establishes a single EU labour market, allowing labour resources to move more smoothly throughout member states.
According to data presented in March by Vladimír Sirotka, the president of the Slovak Association of Small Businesses, 60 percent of Austrian firms close to its borders with Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are interested in hiring employees from these countries.
Sirotka said the opening of the Austrian and the German labour markets will help reduce unemployment in Slovakia, SITA reported.
Austria, facing an aging population, hopes that the opening of its labour market will provide it with a fresh source of labour and is expected to try to attract highly-qualified experts as well as take steps to legalise illegal workers in industries like construction and catering, according to SITA.
Germany has estimated that it may see an influx of 150,000 employees from abroad while Austria is expecting between 13,000 and 25,000 new workers, primarily in the fields of construction, mechanical engineering and services.
9. May 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff