Czech Republic

In 2021, the Czech Republic received 64 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility), 15% more than in 2020. This figure comprises 22.8% immigrants benefitting from free mobility, 58.2% labour migrants, 17.8% family members (including accompanying family) and 0.5% humanitarian migrants. Around 5 000 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 3 700 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 54 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2021, a -10% decrease compared to 2020. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

Ukraine, the Slovak Republic and Russia were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2021. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Ukraine registered the strongest increase (+11 000) and the Slovak Republic the largest decrease (-200) in flows to the Czech Republic compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 26%, to reach around 1 300. The majority of applicants came from Türkiye (200), Ukraine (200, excluding temporary protection recipients) and Russia (100). The largest increase since 2021 concerned nationals of Türkiye (+200) and the largest decrease nationals of Georgia (-100). Of the 1 110 decisions taken in 2022, 29% were positive.

Emigration of Czech citizens to OECD countries decreased by -1% in 2021, to 13 000. Approximately 32% of this group migrated to Germany, 12% to Poland and 11% to Austria.

In May 2023, the Czech Parliament approved transposition of the recast EU Blue Card Directive. Key changes are: an increase in duration from two to three years; exemption for certain applicants from submitting educational qualifications; and possibility to receive a Blue Card with just a six-month contract. Other changes approved included requiring long-term visa and residence permit applicants abroad to have resided in the country for two rather than one year. Financially dependent adult children are no longer eligible for family reunification. The changes took effect on 1 July 2023.

From 1 July 2023, work permits and long-stay visas for seasonal work can be issued with a maximum validity period of nine months (instead of the previous six months). On 1 January 2023, a construction sector was newly added to the national list of economic sectors approved for admission of seasonal workers.

In April 2023, the restrictions on the visa application process for Ukrainian nationals at the Embassy in Kyiv and the consulate in Lviv were lifted for new categories of migrants. In May 2023, visa applications from within the Schengen area were centralised at the Dresden consulate; other embassies will no longer accept applications.

Temporary protection of refugees from Ukraine was extended by one year, until 31 March 2024. The procedure consisted of online registration and the issuing of new visa stickers. By 1 April 2023, there were 325 000 beneficiaries of temporary protection in the Czech Republic. Amended legislation applicable since 1 July 2023 brought changes to the rules for the provision of the accommodation to refugees. Free emergency accommodation will be provided only for up to 150 days (except for vulnerable categories of refugees). The humanitarian benefit for refugees will newly include the financial contribution to the housing costs, taking into account all incomes and savings of its recipients.

From September 2021, a level of A2 in the Czech language was required to obtain permanent residence (an increase from A1 level). The Amendment on the Act on Residence of Foreign Nationals created a distinction between close and distant family members of EU and the Czech Republic citizens.

For selected groups of immigrants from third countries with long-term residence, the obligation to complete within one year the adaptation and integration course started in January 2021.

In April 2023, the Ministry of Interior proposed a new draft immigration act that constitutes a legal basis for the digitalisation of admission procedure and a number of other processes. The proposal also introduces a general concept of a “guarantor” – a person or an entity that hosts migrants in the Czech Republic and that is responsible for ensuring that foreigners respect their admission conditions. The draft law is still undergoing revision prior to discussion by the government.

In September 2022, the OECD presented the results of Multicriterial Points-Based System for Managing Labour Migration to the Czech Republic project, implemented under the European Commission’s DG Structural Reform Support. In 2023, legislation for the introduction of a preferential labour migration system began to be prepared.

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