The Czech Chamber of Commerce has said there is a need to double a quota for Ukrainian workers.

The government in January agreed to double the number of Ukrainians it would allow in as fast-track migrant workers to nearly 20,000 per year, in a bid to help address the chronic labor shortage, Radio Praha's English service reported.

According to the Czech Chamber of Commerce, the fast-track scheme is a drop in the proverbial bucket – but still paying dividends.

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A survey released this week by the Chamber of Commerce shows demand among Czech employers for Ukrainian workers has nearly doubled every year since the global financial crisis ended. With some 300,000 vacancies now on the labor market, doubling the quota for Ukrainian workers to 20,000 will hardly make a dent, says chamber chairman Vladimir Dlouhy.

"The Ukraine work scheme is a short-term solution to the problem of the shortage of workers on our labor market. It is not a long-term solution. The long-term solution lies in fulfilling a number of domestic tasks. Among them are reforming the education system and reforming the labor market itself, and many other things."

That said, the Chamber hopes to convince the government to – yet again – double the quota, arguing Ukrainian workers benefit Czech society as a whole. At current levels, the state is getting some 2 billion crowns a year in direct and indirect taxes and other levies linked to the employment of workers through the regime, Dlouhy says.

"We can say that every Ukrainian who has gained work through this work regime will contribute to a Czech pensioner some 440 crowns a year. This means that the fast-track scheme is starting to have a bit bigger impact and in a wider context. They contribute to the retirement system, and few of them will be drawing from it, taking it back," he said.

The biggest problem in hiring Ukrainian workers, cited by 88% of those surveyed, is the length of the process, which can take six to nine months from advertising a position to filling it.