Demographics Means Slovenia Needs More Foreign Workers

By , 22 Jan 2018, 15:33 PM Business
Demographics Means Slovenia Needs More Foreign Workers Image from SURS

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Panel hears calls to simplify employment of non-EU staff. 

January 22, 2018

A panel debate featuring officials from several ministries and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) in Ljubljana on Monday heard calls to simplify employment of foreigners from non-EU countries, reports the STA on January 22, 2018. Employment Service officials claim the situation is improving.

Labour Ministry State Secretary Peter Pogačar noted Slovenia had one of the least favourable demographic structures in the EU, which was reflected in the increasing need for workers from abroad.

Both employers and experts are warning of this issue, he said, adding that the number of requests for working permits for foreigners was increasing.

Economy Ministry State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti believes the problem is not the legislation but its implementation. An inter-ministerial task force is already working on solutions to speed up and simplify the procedures, he said. Cantarutti also expects Brussels to help cut the red tape.

Meanwhile, Pogačar said the Labour Ministry was working on a new strategy of economic migration, while the Slovenian and Serbian employment services would enhance cooperation.

State Secretary Boštjan Šefic of the Interior Ministry said that the public often wrongly opposed economic migrants, who must be distinguished from spontaneous illegal migrants.

He said that a working permit could now be obtained much faster than in 2014.

This was echoed by the head of the national Employment Service, Mavricija Batič, who said the number of staff dealing with work permits had more than tripled in recent years.

But the audience and employers insisted that the procedure for obtaining the permits was still too long.

Nives Fajfar of the human resources department at the pharmaceutical company Lek pointed to Lek's efforts to attract foreign experts, saying that the taxes on wages were too high in Slovenia.

Lek is thus forced to offer their prospective employees other bonuses such as paying for their accommodation costs and their children's schools, she said.

GZS executive director Samo Hribar Milič said that staff shortage in some fields would be a problem in the future as well, which was why the GZS proposed opening Slovenian representation offices abroad to look for appropriate staff in target countries.

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