Czech Republic

In 2019, 96 000 new immigrants obtained a residence permit longer than 12 months in the Czech Republic (excluding EU citizens), 56.6% more than in 2018. This figure comprises 64.1% labour migrants, 22.8% family members (including accompanying family), 7.3% who came for education reasons and 5.8% other migrants. Around 7 500 short-term permits were issued to international students and 4 900 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 102 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2019, an increase of 230% compared to 2018. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

Ukraine, the Slovak Republic and Russia were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2019. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Ukraine registered the strongest increase (6 100) and the Slovak Republic the largest decrease (-900) in flows to the Czech Republic compared to the previous year.

In 2020, the number of first asylum applicants decreased by -49.5%, to reach around 800. The majority of applicants came from Ukraine (200), Georgia (85) and Belarus (60). The largest increase since 2019 concerned nationals of Belarus (50) and the largest decrease nationals of Armenia (-300). Of the 1 000 decisions taken in 2020, 10.9% were positive.

Emigration of the Czechs to OECD countries were stable at 18 000. Approximately 49% of this group migrated to Germany, 10% to Austria and 6% to Switzerland.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Czech Republic restricted the entry of foreign nationals between March and May 2020. The issuance of new visas has been restricted at the Czech Embassies and Consulates abroad since March 2020 as well. Despite these restrictions, the number of foreigners residing, both permanently and temporarily, in the Czech Republic was 634 800 in December 2020, a 6.5% increase compared to December 2019. The Czech Republic has continued to implement policy reforms that aim to increase the social integration and participation of migrants.

In January 2021, the Czech Republic introduced an integration course for non-EU migrants that reside in the Czech Republic on a long-term or permanent basis.  The course provides instructions on the migrant’s rights and obligations during their stay in the Czech Republic, the values of the Czech Republic, as well as everyday life, culture and customs. The four-hour integration course is administered by the Centres for Support of Integration of Foreign Nationals. The course is taught in Czech, although course content is also translated into English, French, Mongolian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Ukrainian or Vietnamese. The migrant must pay the course fee of CZK 1 500 (about EUR 60) and is subject to a fine of CZK 10 000 (EUR 390) if they do not complete the course within one year of receiving their residence permit.

From 1 September 2021, the Czech language requirement for permanent residence permit will increase from A1 to A2 in the Common European Framework. The current language requirement for obtaining permanent residence in the Czech Republic, one of the lowest in the EU, is not considered sufficient for a migrant to operate independently in the Czech society. The increased threshold was recommended by an expert advisory group including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Interior, the National Pedagogical Institute of the Czech Republic, the Institute of Language and Vocational Training of Charles University and the Association of the Czech as a Foreign Language Teachers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Czech Republic instituted measures to extend visas and valid travel periods for visa-holders. This covered third-country nationals with short-term visas for employment or seasonal employment, visas for a stay of over 90 days for seasonal employment and holders of special work visas. Extensions and extended travel periods were granted when the visa was to expire after 12 March 2020 and the employer arranged extension of the employment relationship, or a new employment relationship immediately related to the previous employment relationship.

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