April 14. 2024. 6:32

The Daily

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Slovenia eases conditions for hiring foreign workers

The Slovenian parliament has passed two bills that simplify procedures to make it easier for employers to recruit workers from non-EU countries, and there will also be less red tape for third-country nationals.

Parliament on Tuesday adopted amendments to the Aliens Act, and the Employment, Self-employment and Work of Foreigners Act that were drawn up by the government and rushed through parliament to address acute staff shortages.

The amendments to the Foreigners Act preserve a controversial provision, passed under the previous government, that requires adult family members of non-EU workers to pass a basic Slovenian language proficiency test to extend their residence in Slovenia after they have been in the country for an entire year.

However, the implementation of the provision is being delayed by 18 months. Instead of 27 April this year, the provision requiring family members over 18 to pass the A1 Slovenian language test will not come into force until 1 November 2024.

The provision has been at the centre of debates and has been heavily criticised by activists but defended by the government as a necessary way to ensure migrants integrate into society.

But even more important is an overhaul of the work permit system under which third-country nationals will be able to change their employer or job or be employed with several employers merely with the consent of the Employment Service. They would no longer need the written approval of an administrative unit.

The amendments will speed up the processing of applications for a single permit for jobs in the public sector as the government wants to address the staff shortage, which is particularly acute in healthcare and social services.

Additionally, the time asylum seekers need to wait to exercise their right to free access to the labour market after obtaining the asylum seeker status is being cut from nine to three months.

(Sebastijan R. Maček | sta.si)