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Romanians, Bulgarians expected to help ease labor shortage

Hungary plans to partially open its labor market to Romanian and Bulgarian workers to ease the labor shortage in some areas, national daily Népszabadság said on Monday.

Both countries will enter the European club in a few weeks' time and Hungary's Labor Ministry has drafted a list of trades where there are plenty of vacancies, said the paper. Despite Hungary's low employment rate and relatively high joblessness, there is a severe shortage of skilled labor in several key areas. Estimates suggest there are about 30,000-35,000 long-term vacancies in the country and a recent EU survey showed that 40% to 50% of Hungarian companies face some degree of labor shortage.

Some companies and health facilities, for example, would simply stop operating without Slovak commuters along the northern rim of Hungary. There is particularly strong demand for labor in the textile, building construction and food industries. As far as white-collar workers are concerned, there is a marked shortage of labor in the health sector - doctors and nurses alike. In addition, large numbers of mechanical engineers, software developers, IT specialists and electrical engineers would be able to find a job in the country. The Hungarian government is scheduled to pass a decision on partially opening the labor market later this month. (