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A lucky few Bosnians may soon get to work in Germany and Austria as a result of labour agreements - but the numbers involved won't affect the overall unemployment picture.
The head of Bosnia's Employment Agency, Adnan Delic, on February 13 said Bosnia and Germany will soon sign an agreement on jobs for several hundred Bosnians in Germany.
“Germany needs medical workers and carers that Bosnia can offer; that's an opportunity for some 450 to 500 people to get employment,” Delic said, adding that Bosnians who worked in Germany would have the same working conditions as local people.
The employment agency said a similar contract might be signed with Austria as Austria is also seeking additional workers in some sectors.
“In this way, citizens of BiH will be able to work in Austria in a legal way,” Delic said, urging people to ignore numerous fake job adverts.
Under a similar agreement signed with Slovenia, several workers will start working there from next month, and similar opportunities could also open in Russia and Qatar.
Whether the small-scale job offers will make much difference to the overall employment picture in Bosnia is another question.
At the end of last year, the official number of unemployed persons in Bosnia was 550,574, 44.4 per cent of the working age population, the highest number ever recorded.
According to the agency, two-thirds of the jobless are unskilled or partly qualified workers, meaning that they completed three years of high school.
However, the official fiugures may be misleading to an extent because an estimated 200,000 officially jobless persons probably work but without contracts, experts say.
“Employers who do not register their workers should face tougher penalties,” Delic said on Wednesday.
In comparison with the region, Bosnia's official unemployment rate is the second worst.
In Albania and Montenegro the jobless rate is only 13 per cent. In Croatia it is about 19 per cent, in Serbia around 27 per cent and Macedonia around 31 per cent.
Only the unemployment in Kosovo is worse than Bosnia, at 45 per cent.
Newly released figures show that almost a third of working age Serbians are unemployed, while one economist warns the situation may not improve in the coming year.
The Hague Tribunal has been successful in bringing wartime commanders to justice but hasn’t met expectations on reconciliation, chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz told BIRN.