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6.1 Labour market

Kosovo is blessed with a young, skilled, multilingual and motivated labour force with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

With 70 percent of the population being under the age of 35, Kosovo is considered to have the youngest population in Europe. This young population has a high literacy of foreign languages. Albanian and Serbian are both official languages, and given the long-term presence of a large international community, English has been established as a de-facto third official language. Owing to the large Kosovar Diaspora, German and other European languages are frequently heard.

Taking into consideration the high availability of the work force and the liberal labour law that governs the local labour market, hiring employees in Kosovo is both time saving and simple. According to the "Doing Business 2010" of the World Bank, Kosovo can outperform most of its neighbouring countries when it comes to the simplicity of hiring new employees. The same applies to the cost of making workers redundant which, equal to a salary of 30 weeks, is below the regional average.

Furthermore, the highly flexible labour market offers a sufficient work force with varied skills and levels of education and training. Although according to the data covering jobseeker statistics the main part of the labour market supply consists of basic skilled labour, there are sufficient quantities of highly educated jobseekers as well.

The main advantage of the Kosovo labour force remains its low cost. With the average monthly labour cost estimated at EUR 262.5 it is the most competitive in the region.

Furthermore, personal income tax in Kosovo is very low at only four percent of the average gross salary, and the wages are unburdened by costly social contributions, unlike the salaries in most neighbouring countries. The only mandatory contributions on total gross wages paid are those for individual pension savings accounts, financed by the employer (5 percent) and the employee (5 percent).

Working in Kosovo as a foreigner
Natural persons, who are not citizens of Kosovo, when wanting to work in Kosovo for more than three months, must apply for a work permit, which is issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. Together with the request for the work permit, the employer should also submit a copy of the residence permit, or proof of possessing a valid visa issued by the Kosovo authorities.

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6.2 Educational system

The compulsory school and higher education systems in Kosovo have been reformed in recent years landing great importance to their quality, and thus creating the basic preconditions for the development of a knowledge-based society out of the young population.

With the ratification of the new university law by the Government back in 2004, Kosovo's higher education authority has introduced educational levels in accordance with the Bologna Declaration.

Great importance has been given to establishing a privately-driven educational system.
Currently Kosovo has two state universities and several private universities and colleges, with worldwide known educational institutions among them. As part of the educational reforms, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has started implementation work for the foundation of the Public University of Prizren, which will start its first educational year in October 2010. The curricula of the study fields offered by the
University of Prizren will be developed based on the mid-term needs of the local economy.

With approximately 30,000 students at the two state universities, and at least 10,000 students at the private universities and colleges, a sufficient stream of highly educated labour is guaranteed. The number of graduates is increasing continuously, with social science graduates over-performing those studying the natural sciences.



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