Visa-free EU travel for Ukrainians
As of last Sunday all Ukrainians need to enter the EU is their passport. Commentators in neighbouring Poland and the Czech Republic are pleased about this. At the same time they worry that visa-free travel for Ukrainians may have repercussions for their own labour markets.
Good news for the economy
With its visa freedom Ukraine is moving closer to the old continent, Lidové noviny writes, pointing to the opportunities for the Czech labour market:
“If we want Ukraine to become more European than Russian, such steps can only be helpful. There are, however, also voices warning that the Ukrainians could use their tourist stays to work illegally. This is quite possible. On the other hand, without the Ukrainians the cranes on Czech building sites would come to a standstill and a number of hospitals in the Czech Republic would collapse. ... We shouldn't actually support any violations of the law - but if the Ukrainians can circumvent the opaque and corrupt system of obtaining work visas with the new regulation, this would be a second piece of good news - this time for our economy.”
Competing for Ukrainian workers
Ukrainian workers were already allowed to obtain work visas in Poland. Now the several hundred thousand Ukrainian workers currently in Poland may migrate to other countries, fears Rzeczpospolita:
“Our elation over Ukrainians saving our labour market will be short-lived if we don't work out a policy that encourages them to remain in the country. ... Immigrants from the East work in every field: in laundries, IT companies and bars. ... But, unfortunately, this labour source is petering out ... For one thing, the labour regulations for foreigners are being tightened. Secondly, the Schengen visa requirement for Ukrainians was rescinded on Sunday, 11 June. Now they can travel freely to the West. Poland is no longer a paradise for them. They will soon realise that in Germany, for example, they can earn four times as much as here.”