Business Government moves to ease conditions for foreign workers
The government has moved to ease conditions for foreigners working in the Czech Republic. An amendment to the foreigners’ law approved by the cabinet on Monday should enable foreign nationals to work in the country for a longer period before needing to extend their visas.
At present foreign nationals can work in the Czech Republic for 90 days before needing to get their visa extended. Under the proposed amendment, which will now go to the lower house for debate, the current 90 day period would be extended to 6 months, and, in the event of a significant investment project that benefits the state, even 2 years.
The move comes in the wake of criticism regarding the number of bureaucratic hurdles foreigners working in the country face and reflects changes in EU directives passed in 2014. The proposed amendment will introduce an “internal employee card” that will automatically make it possible for foreign workers to stay in the Czech Republic for six months if they are employed as a manager, specialist or trainee in a firm based outside the EU. Foreigners who come to the Czech Republic for seasonal work would be able to stay in the country for 6 months as well. And the bill should likewise improve conditions for investors, which the present legislation does not take into account.
The amendment not only aims to reduce the amount of bureaucracy for foreign workers but to support investments in the Czech Republic which benefit the state.
The fact that foreign employees would not have to get their work permits and visas extended so often would be a huge relief also in view of the amount of time that it takes to get them processed. According to a study conducted by Deloitte Czech immigration procedure is the second slowest in the EU with highly qualified workers from third countries waiting for up to 12 weeks to get their applications processed. Deloitte says one of the reasons for the long wait is a lack of qualified workers processing the applications and a lot of manual work involved, unlike in other countries which employ advanced IT systems.
According to the government the improved legal conditions should go hand in hand with investments in technology. The Interior Ministry plans to invest around 6.5 million crowns and the Foreign Ministry 2.7 million into upgrading their information systems.