Czech Republic

In 2018, the Czech Republic received 56 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility), 28.4% more than in 2017. Around 3 500 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 2 600 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 31 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2018, an increase of 26.1% compared to 2017. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

Ukraine, the Slovak Republic and Russia were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2018. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Ukraine registered the strongest increase (6 400) in flows to the Czech Republic compared to the previous year.

In 2019, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 15.8%, to reach around 1 600. The majority of applicants came from Armenia (300), Ukraine (200) and Georgia (200). The largest increase since 2018 concerned nationals of Armenia (+200) and the largest decrease nationals of Cuba (-100). Of the 1 400 decisions taken in 2019, 9.6% were positive.

A new amendment to the Aliens Act, approved in July 2019, simplifies and expands government programmes for economic migration, notably with specific measures for three different categories of worker: “Highly Qualified Workers”; “Key and Research Staff”; and origin-country-specific “Qualified Workers”. Administrative procedures for these programmes are facilitated and conditions are more favourable for workers and their families (e.g. exemptions to the mandatory integration courses which apply to new arrivals). The programme for key and highly qualified workers will be open to more countries. It is currently limited to Ukraine, Serbia, Mongolia and the Philippines but will expand to include migrants from Belarus, Montenegro, Moldova, Kazakhstan and India.

The amendment also increases flexibility to respond to the labour market situation by temporarily allowing the issue of extraordinary work visas for workers from specific countries and economic sectors. In addition, the government will be able to set quotas for economic migration. The amendment also speeds up the termination of foreigners’ residence permits if they commit a crime, from over two years to less than six months. Moreover, it simplifies the conditions for entry and residence of students and scientists and ensures that employee card holders are able to change their employer after six months residence in the Czech Republic.

Following Brexit, the Czech Government proposes reciprocal regulations to those relating to Czech citizens in the United Kingdom. After 2020, British citizens in the Czech Republic will be obliged to submit an application for a residence permit, as with other third-country nationals.

In 2019, the integration framework, called “In Mutual Respect”, was also updated. Starting in 2021, all newcomers will be required to complete an 8-hour adaptation-integration course within the first year of their stay in the country. In addition, this update includes some supporting measures for the integration of newcomers in a longer-term perspective, such as language and socio-cultural courses, as well as a focus on vulnerable migrants.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Czech authorities enabled seasonal workers in agriculture to remain in the country to work and reinstated admission of seasonal workers on 11 May 2020. Other employment restrictions have been eased, as migrant workers who have lost their job may, for instance, be authorised to change employer and sector. Suspended during the pandemic, the Qualified Worker Programme, which enables employers operating in the Czech Republic to employ qualified foreign workers from specific countries, was partially restored on June 15th, 2020, but only for Ukrainian workers, as employers were looking for 1 000 of them, particularly in the construction and machinery manufacturing sectors.

On 1 April 2020, the government approved an “Antivirus Programme” that supports employment of both Czech and foreign employees. To avoid layoffs, the programme allows the state to compensate employees’ wages for companies that face economic risks due to COVID-19. New information for immigrants were also implemented in several languages. In addition, the legality of residence was ensured for those whose legal stay expires during the state of emergency and integration measures switched mostly to online and telephone services.

For further information:

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2020

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at