Immigration Law Amendment Controversy – What Are the Biggest Changes for Individuals?
August 15, tighter rules for foreigners signed by President Zeman entered in force. What does the new Immigration Law Amendment mean for the foreign nationals in the Czech Republic? Photo: Pixabay
Although there are no explicit references to national security in the new law, many critics and NGOs refer to the Amendment as to a tool of administrative barriers hindering the immigration from non-EU countries.
JobSpin.cz asked the experts from relocation services Move to Prague and they share more optimistic vision with a strong plain message – do not overreact: “Not all changes are bad, there is no need to panic.” Nevertheless, shadow of humanity laws violation falls upon the Amendment and Move to Prague admits it, too: “Lot of the changes are against humanity laws and are speculated to be re-evaluated in the future by Human Right NGOs.”
Move to Prague relocation experts see the main rationale behind changes in the minimizing of just-wandering-around-immigration: “They [lawmakers] are trying to shorten the cases of frauds in the immigration sphere, as a lot of people apply for a residency with no real purpose in the end.
Targeting third country nationals
Some say, changes target non-EU nationals as a reaction to current anti-immigration political temper in society. When reviewing recent changes, the newly implemented administrative fees for reception of the application for third country nationals pose an obstacle.
Another change regarding third country nationals concerns the nonacceptance of permit application from a foreigner who is a family member of a Czech citizen but stays in the Czech Republic without authorization or with a valid exit order.
Changing or losing a job can be a complication
New Amendments pursue several issues which restrict your options. And to be honest, they do not feel really rational.
Tomáš Jungwirth, Policy Officer at the Consortium of Migrants Assisting Organizations in the Czech Republic, explains for Expats.cz what is a confirmation of a change of employer: ”It is when a person loses their job or plans to change the employer that it becomes restrictive. Unfortunately, to change a job requires confirmation that the given person is actually going to their present employer; saying you intend to leave and asking for confirmation of employment can obviously be problematic.”
This document has to be prepared and submitted within 60 days.
An applicant for renewal of an employee card has an opportunity to find a new employment within 60 days of the termination of his or her employment, for which the employee card was issued to him or her, and to apply for an approval of the change of his or her employer no later than within this time limit.
“It is not possible to issue or renew an employee card of a foreign national who holds the position of a partner (including a member of a cooperative), the position of a member of a statutory body or another body of a commercial company,” the new Amendment postulates.
Intra-company transferred employees and investors
New types of long-term residence permits have been introduced.
The Ministry has introduced a new card of an intra-company transferred employee.
Newly, there is card of an intra-company transferred employee from another member state of the European Union for foreign nationals who have already been transferred within a company to an EU state and wish to be transferred from that state to the Czech Republic now.
Other card is issued for foreign nationals who are transferred within a company from a state, which is not an EU member state, to the Czech Republic.
Among many other changes the new immigration legislation have introduced the possibility to obtain a long-term residence permit for investors; whereby the term investor (the “Investor”) also includes shareholders or directors of a company, Prague.TV, daily for foreigners in Prague reported on July 23, 2017.
There are several conditions, which need to be fulfilled in order to obtain the Investment visa such as creating “at least 20 full-time jobs for EU-citizens”. Learn more here.
A new purpose of a long-term visa has been introduced, specifically a long-term visa for the purpose of seasonal employment has been added. The Ministry has not provided more details on this visa purpose yet.
New fees and fee stamps
For applications filed by third country nationals in the territory of the Czech Republic, administrative fees for reception of the application have been introduced. “It means, foreign nationals are required to pay the fee when they fill in the application and after they receive the card,” Move to Prague experts explain on their website.
Since August 15, authorities collect administrative fees exclusively in form of fee stamps (no cash or credit card) from third country nationals. Issue or renewal of a residence permit costs circa 700-1500 CZK, lower amount is charged to a person under 15 years old.
Application for issue of an employee card costs 1,500 CZK now and an employee card issue is for 1,000 CZK.
A personal appointment at the embassy is required in order to submit application for a long-term visa, a long-term residence permit or a permanent residence permit.
Temporary residence permit has to be personally filled in in an office of the Ministry of the Interior.
Young adults to undergo an individual process
If parenting an adult dependent child, August 15, there was a considerable change. Your adult studying child cannot apply for a permanent residence permit only for the reason of a partnership with you – a foreigner with permitted permanent residence – now. Such a permit is eligible only for minors.
Move to Prague gives an advice in this scenario: “They (adult dependent children) will be able to apply for a long-term residency, and apply for a permanent one after years-long stay here. It is not a change that is ‘life-threating’ – it actually puts all the people into the same position and asks to wait for it.”
You should be also aware of expiration dates of your papers. As for a long-term visa, you have to apply for a re-validation at least 90 days before expiration.
In case of long-term residence permit, dates are not so tight. Last day of validity is the latest day to apply for a renewal. 120 days ahead is the earliest time to apply for a renewed permit. “An application for renewal of all long-term residence permits (including employee cards) is to be filed more than 120 days before the expiry date of the existing permit,” the official document of Ministry of Interior states.
Who is the most affected by the new Czech visa system change
Tomáš Jungwirth sums up that “there is no change for the sake of relocation”. Tourist- and work visa or work permit are actually no intricacy in the Amendment. However, “those transferring employment, their family members, and people who intend to start a business will be the most affected,” Jungwirth concludes.
A specialist from Move to Prague, Daria Somova has an encouraging and calm response to the change: “I am sure that in the beginning it is going to be very confusing both for people and the government workers, but later it is going to be alright and in order.”