Migrants take away our jobs! Really?
Rasul, you come from Azerbaijan. Did you move from your homeland straight to Prague? Or did you live in other places as well?
A part of my family lives in Norway where I spent few years at high school. Then I returned to Baku where I gained my bachelor's degree in finance and loans. Later, as a specialist with diploma, I arrived to Prague.
Have you ever used your diploma at work? Or are you doing something different from what you studied?
I use the knowledge I gained at school at my work as well as in everyday life. However, great advantage I have is the knowledge of languages. I can speak Norwegian and Azerbaijani. Both of them are relatively in demand and not many people can speak them. Naturally, I also speak English, Czech and Russian.
I tried various jobs, such as marketing and financial consultancy. I found out that I enjoy the position of an account manager the most. In practice it means that I maintain relationships with our regular clients. I am really good at it and I really enjoy it which is important.
You are a happy person who loves his work! What qualities are important for a person who wants to do a job like yours?
Currently I work for the East European region. That is why I have to be able to communicate in a language that is spoken in these countries. That is mainly Russian. The company is international and the internal communication is in English. So you have to know languages. When I say “know” I mean the perfect command of the language. You have to be able to make jokes, to know the informal expressions and to react swiftly in the conversation.
There is, however, another aspect that cannot be learned. It is the knowledge of mentality of the nation. That is the customs, social life, behaviour patterns, values and other details that cannot be described. You have to have it in your blood; you have to come from there.
Are you telling me that a Czech person would not be able to do such job?
I am not saying that he could not. But I think that he would be less successful than anyone from the Eastern region. You know – when we talk about clients, we talk about personalities. Every one of them is different and so are the approaches they need. This is not about ciphers; the voice that speaks to them does matter. They can sense nervousness, insecurity in your voice and they can take advantage of it when it comes to bargaining. It is advantageous for the company to employ someone who feels among foreigners – as we say in a Russian proverb – like a fish in water.
So you are a perfect candidate for the position of an account manager. You have everything necessary: knowledge, background, personal qualities. Was it easy to find a job?
Finding a job is challenging. Everyone who has ever looked for job knows how difficult it is to find something that suits him. I passed this stage. However, I have to say that I fought obstacles on different stages.
The red tape is everywhere in the Czech Republic. To obtain a work permit from the alien police? If you manage it you are a hero! Loads of forms, waiting, queues, forms and waiting again.
The official policy complicates its own work. Imagine a situation when an employer is willing to employ you and you also want to work for his company. But both of you are forced to wait for two or three months because there is a lot of bureaucracy. A project cannot wait for such a long time. This is nonsense.
Recently foreign affairs issues were moved under the competence of the Ministry of the Interior. It should have made the processes easier.
It should, but obviously the changes were not effective. The reason for them was the necessity to repress corruption in the alien police. Corruption, as we all know, did not disappear. Instead we have a lot of young workers who do not have experience, practice, and nobody to give them advice.
I was even in a situation when I had to give advice to a worker behind the counter, because she did not know where to look for a law concerning permissions I needed. It will take years before they begin to understand this a bit.
How did you persuade the employer that he should wait for you a couple of months?
I did not even try. I understand that it is absurd - they have their commissions now and they need someone to work on them.
I always offered a different solution, I have a trade licence. Fortunately, I have a few income sources; that is why it is all right from the point of view of the law. I pay taxes and I pay the health and social insurance as well. It is a compromise that I have to accept if I want to work in the Czech Republic.
Rasul, do you like Prague?
Yes, that is why I have lived here for so many years. I love Prague; I like the atmosphere it has. There is not a country with an ideal system and every country has its cons. In Prague, the pros prevail. It is my home.
This article is one of the migrants’ contributions to the project Migration to the Centre and was created with the cooperation of the People in Need.
The article has been written with support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union and the International Visegrad Fund. The article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.