We have been talking around immigration for years. Some people blame immigration for higher crime and less job security. But that is not a problem of immigration, but of poor immigration policy. Good immigration policy creates more and better jobs for local people through greater export and the creation of new businesses.
Other people bash the government for not filling every unfilled job with a foreigner. That also is bad immigration policy. Some companies want to use immigrants to sustain businesses that would be priced out of the country if they could not rely on low paid workers.
The government, economic experts at universities, and media also often bash business for creating a "montovni" economy. That is a shallow analysis. The type of business that flows into an economy depends a great deal on the incentives and restrictions set by government policy. The current labor code and immigration policy encourages investments into "montovni" operations and penalizes innovative businesses. What we have, in fact, is a "montovni" labor policy. Change it into an innovative one, and the great potential of the Czech economy will be realized not in some undefined future, but today.
That would require a labor code, for instance, that recognizes that working-from-anywhere is a desire of all employees- not just caregivers with children and aging parents. The ability of an individual to work how they like is a competitive advantage in a creative economy.
It would also require a digitized immigration system that does not select foreign workers by a quota set by the capacity of how many files each embassy can handle, but on the talents of the people, and their ability to generate more revenue for the nation. The innovative economy depends on the flow of innovative workers around the globe. The Czech Republic is currently cutting itself out of this flow, which increases the risk that Innovative Czechs will have to flow elsewhere to participate in major innovative projects. Again, if we do not want a "montovni" economy, the government cannot practice "montovni" economic policy thinking.
Today, AmCham CZ board members responsible for our people policy- Martina Kneiflová, Michel Perret, Jaroslava Rezlerová- discussed what an innovative workforce policy would look like with Miroslav Mejtský, who has driven our immigration efforts. We are putting our ideas down on paper, and want to start discussing them with the government in February. We would like to hear what you think.
Weston Stacey, Executive Director at AmCham CZ