It was not that long ago that the sound of English in Bratislava’s streets could still turn heads. But since the 1990s, most Slovaks, and particularly those living in the capital, have added the word expat to their colloquial vocabulary.
Statistics from Slovakia’s labour offices show that there were just short of 50,000 foreigners working legally in the country in 2017, and their number is expected to grow in the coming years. Some businesses have already started actively seeking qualified workers from beyond Slovakia’s borders; others – most recently Jaguar Land Rover, which is set to start building cars in Nitra in the autumn – admit they will most likely have to do so in the near future.
Unlike the state authorities – who, despite the fact that literally all demographers and labour market observers agree the economy will not be able to cope without a sustainable migration policy, have failed to come up with one – private companies have acknowledged they will need people like Henry Acorda in the future.
His death, following an horrific street attack, was an outrage. The businesses that seek to attract employees like him to Slovakia, should recognise the damage it could do to them, as well as to the country.