Latvia hires Filipino truck drivers as labor shortage gears up

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While Latvia is considering to make its labor market more accessible to third-country nationals, it's becoming increasingly evident that the country lacks even employees viewed as low-skilled, reported LTV on November 6.

There are about 2,500 truck drivers employed in Latvia, and a hundred of them come from the Philippines with many others from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. 

"In order to be competitive in this market, we have to attract third-country drivers as we haven't got enough. Young people don't choose this profession, or they've left the country. The only way out is hiring drivers from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and even the Philippines," said Valdis Trēziņš, head of the Latvijas auto association.

Meanwhile significantly fewer third-country nationals are working in other areas, including 239 programmers, about a hundred system analytics and 26 naval engineers. 

As reported, the Economics Ministry plans to ease access to Latvia's labor market by loosening requirements for some third-country nationals seeking employment here. It is hoped the plan would attract about 600 more employees to the country each year. 

However the ministry has not included truck drivers in the list. 

Accenture Latvia, an IT company, is hiring about 350 fresh graduates each year even though there are just 500 such graduates each year, according to Accenture Latvia boss Maksims Jegorovs.

He stressed that Latvian IT exports have surpassed those of the transit industry, however further growth is stunted by the limited scale of the companies.

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