Upcoming changes to the Act on Residency of Foreigners in the Czech Republic
The Czech Parliament currently debates an amendment to the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals (the “Act”). The amendment contains several changes which will provide new regulations in the field of foreigners’ residency in the Czech Republic.
The forthcoming amendments to the Act are described in this article. The amendment is providing a new type of visa the so-called extraordinary working visa. The main intention for this visa is a quick recruitment of foreign workers in case of insufficient amount of working forces in certain economic sectors of the Czech Republic. When work is completed, the workers will be sent back to the country of their origin. The Czech Government can activate the issuance of extraordinary working visas on the basis of the government decree which will further specify particular adjustments, i.e. the source countries, volume of migration, economic sectors, etc. The visa will be generally issued for 1 year with no possibility of extension. The applicant can apply for the visa repeatedly.
The bill also creates a new obligation for the foreigners who will apply for a long-term residence permit and in specific cases permanent residence as well, to pass the integration course. The obligation will apply only to new cases of applicants for a long-term residence permit. The course must be completed by the foreigner within 1 year after he/she received the long-term residence permit. Fulfilment of this obligation will only be required from third country nationals, EU citizens are exempted from this commitment. A typical category of foreigners with an integration duty will be the Employee and Blue card applicants. The compulsory integration course obligation will also apply in relation to foreigners who decided to change their purpose of stay in the Czech Republic (e.g. when foreigner applies for a change of his/her purpose of stay from the purpose of “studies” [which is exempted by the regulation] to the purpose of “employment” to which the obligation applies). The issue is that not only the foreigner will be obligated to cover the costs of the integration course but more importantly there will be only limited availability of the courses. The cost and particular content of the integration course will be set forth by an executive regulation of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, which is not available yet.
Finally based on the bill the Czech Government will provide the relevant Czech Embassy with a maximum number of applications that could be submitted and accepted by the Embassy within a certain period of time. The limitations apply to submissions of applications for a business long-term visa and Employee Card. All applications submitted after the maximum quota is reached will not be accepted by the Czech Embassy. This rule may cause a problem especially during the last several months of the year and the applicants should take this into account and plan well in advance. The exact numbers (quotas) will be set forth by a government decree, which is not available yet.
The Chamber of Deputies has approved the bill on March 13, 2019 now the bill must be further approved by the Senate and the President of the Czech Republic. In our opinion the approval of the bill is highly probable.
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