No decision on attracting specialist guest workers

The Cabinet of Ministers on February 13 postponed making a decision on how to attract skilled foreign professionals, saying that discussions are still needed on which separate professions to include on a list.

The issue will be discussed after Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens (Unity) returns from his visit to South Korea, the press was told.

The Economics Ministry had presented at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers Committee a list of 237 professions where there was shortage of labor force in Latvia, along with a suggestion to loosen the employment regulations in order to bring to Latvia highly skilled professionals from abroad. The list includes a number of professions in physics, chemistry, IT, financial analysis, construction, ship and aircraft navigation, etc.

Initially the list also included medical specialists, but after discussions with medical organizations, this profession was deleted from the list.

The State Secretary of the Economics Ministry, Juris Stinka, told the press after the Cabinet meeting that the government still had to discuss the proposals from the ministries and business organizations about including in the list or removing from it certain professions.

He said that the list was for highly-skilled professionals therefore the proposals for adding to the list truck drivers and farmhands should be rejected.

Stinka said that the list should contain professions in which there was a shortage of labor force and more than five years of training were needed to learn the trade. Surely one could find truck drivers and agricultural workers among some 80,000 job seekers here in Latvia, he suggested.

At the same time, the ICT sector wants to have ICT experts removed from the list, but the Economics Ministry disagrees with the proposal, stating that it is a fast-growing sector in need of highly-skilled foreign experts and as such belonged on the list.

So in essence it looks - unsurprisingly - as if each sector wants to ring-fence its own profession.

Employment
Economy