While many Latvians have been going to countries such as Ireland for better work opportunities, Latvia itself is having work force troubles. Increasingly, employers must now recruit employees from other countries.
The number of workers coming from abroad continues to grow. During the first quarter of this year, over 1000 foreigners have come into Latvia, a significant immigration rate for a country of only 2.25 million.
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Compared with 2003 (the year before Latvia entered the European Union) the total number of foreigners in the country today is higher. The number of the foreign nationals in Latvia in 2003 was 33,000, or 1.4% of the total population.
It is not easy to find a foreign employee and arrange all the formalities so that he may work in Latvia. But, sometimes it is the only opportunity to fill in the labor shortage.
Parsla Bashko, the head of the personnel department of Aldaris, (a Latvian brewing company) said that their enterprise offers jobs to students and people from rural districts. However, these workers have not proved to be very reliable; they tend to work for a short period of time and then leave. The reason why Aldaris recruits workers from abroad is that most Latvians remaining in the country are not interested in this type of work.
The largest numbers of guest workers are found in such areas as construction, transport services and general industry. Many job seekers come from nearby countries, such as Russia, the Ukraine, and Belarus. Other workers have been imported from China and Mexico.