Germany and Austria open their labour markets

The EU-15 could apply restrictions on the new countries that were acceded  in 2004. Sweden, the UK and Ireland imposed no restrictions on countries that entered the EU in 2004. The other EU-15 aside from Austria and Germany countries gradually dropped the restrictions. Austria and Germany are the last two EU member countries that have not removed restrictions. The restrictions were allowed to last for a maximum of seven years period. From May 1, 2011 Austria and Germany will open their labour markets for the countries that joined EU on the 1st of May 2004: Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary. Restrictions against Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2006, will remain until 2013.

That is the reason why number of job offers to Austria and Germany is rising. Mainly neighbours of Germany and Austria will influence– Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland.

Just on the most famous Slovak web portal for searching job were published 378 job placements to Austria and 443 to Germany in first quarter 2011. It is the highest number in recent years.

In published offers employers are looking mostly for higher educated people, demand for elementary educated people is on minimum level. In 69% offers they are looking for technical staff like architect, designer, engineer or IT. 16% from offers are placement for middle and lower managers.

Also in Germany 65% of advertisements offer opportunity to work for qualified technical staff, and almost 25% provide bid for bartenders, cooks, maintainers, builders.

Individually, what are the most wanted areas in Germany and Austria? It is allowed to say that IT skill workers wouldn’t have problems to find job, then there are a lot of offers from areas such tourism, health care and social welfare. informs that interest in work abroad is bigger by men than women. 65% men are interested in work in Austria and ratio for work to Germany is more marked and almost 75% applicants are men.

These data are from Slovakia but as we mentioned at the beginning German labour market isn’t opening only for Slovaks. In news was stated that 400,000 Poles are ready to enter newly-open labour market. It makes concerns about wage dumping, inflation but also whole polish economy. For people who live near the borders with Germany it takes 20 minutes by walk, go and earn for identical job in eastern Germany 9.25 Euros ($12.75) compare to 20 zloty ($6.75) per hour in Poland.

How does opening of labour markets in Germany and Austria after 1st May influence EU labour market and migration? We will see.



6 thoughts on “Germany and Austria open their labour markets

  1. There also will be many immigrants from Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia), because distance between these countries is less in half than, for example, UK or Ireland, which seem to be as a gold hole for unqualified workers. But Austria and Germany is different because of their requirements for language, education and qualification, as author of this blog has mentioned, and nation’s not favorable attitude to immigrants. Still, there is growing interest in employment opportunities from Latvians, German becoming popular language to learn.

  2. I agree with the above opinion. Although Austria and Germany officially opened their markets to the mentioned countries, it still won’t be so easy to get a job there. I think that the both of these countries have plenty of high-skilled potential staff and that their own people will probably be of more importance for employers.
    But definitely it’s fair that they have allowed to “new- acceded” countries enter their labour markets, as all nations at EU should have the same rights.

    • I think the opening of the Austrian labour market has advantages as well as disadvantages. It can strengthen the potential of the economy, especially for companies in the hospitality and tourism sector the chance to a higher labour supply is better. Austria is also optimistic about the coverage of the skills shortage in nursing. But the Austrians also fear that the wage level falls and that the rate of unemployment will increase. I am not an opponent of this labor market opening. I just hope that there won’t be deterioration for Austrians.

  3. Of course the opening of the Austrian and German labour market makes people sceptic about the future. Austrians as well as Germans are afraid that people from Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Czech Republic etc. are going to “steel” their jobs. But as lots of experts already mentioned, it is not worth to worry about the labour market opening. First of all, it is not as easy to work in a foreign country as it seems. For example the language is a huge barrier. And also cultural and social aspects may cause problems. Another point is, that the economy of Eastern-Europe countries, such as Czech Republic or Poland, is developing very good and therewith also the labour market develops. So i think, at the moment there is nothing to worry about. And anyways, there is nothing we can do about that. We have to wait and see what will happen. I mean, when Austria and Germany signed the European Union declaration of accession the knew that it will come to that sooner or later. So, same rights for everyone!

  4. I think this is very good voor the EU and Germany but very bad for the east-european countries that just got the EU-status. Because of the open labour market countries like Slovakia and Poland are loosing educated employees to Germany and Austria. This will influance their labour market. But from the presentation of our Polish teacher, we could notice a shift of people going out of poland and other foreignrs coming to poland to work. So acctually this is more helping the EU as a totaal and not effecting Slovakia or Poland as tought in the first place.

  5. I doubt that East-European workers will “steal” any jobs in Germany or Austria. Companies are desperately searching for employers that can meet their requirements. Those educated workers exist in East-Europe and the “brain-drain” can be very positive for Germany and Austria. I do not think that there are not enough jobs in the West, the problem is that a lot of unemployed people have no sufficient education and qualification or refuse to do special kinds of work. So they are no option for the labour market. Qualified workers from East-Europe will strengthen the Western Economies. I think the decision to “close” the Austrian and German Labour markets until 2011 was a good decision for both sides. On the one hand it gave the new EU members time to improve salaries and be more competitive and on the other hand prevented a flood of desperate East-European workers crossing the border to find their luck.


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