Exactly 50 years ago today, the Czechoslovak national ice hockey team beat the Soviets in the world championships for a second time, setting off a series of celebrations – which soon turned into protests, at times violent, against the ongoing Warsaw Pact occupation. Though a moral victory, in a sense it proved a Pyrrhic one.
The lower house of Parliament has approved an amendment to the Aliens Act
that would make it easier to expel foreigners who have been repeatedly
convicted of crimes in the Czech Republic.
The Minister of the Interior, Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats), who drafted the amendment, said it would speed up the expulsion process to at most six months, in part because the Supreme Administrative Court would have at most 90 days to appeal such an order.
Currently, proceedings to revoke a foreign offender’s residence permit can now last over two years, Mr Hamáček said, noting the case of a drug dealer that took six years.
Regarding the employment of foreign nationals, he said the Aliens Act amendment would also allow the government to introduce extraordinary work visas for a limited period of one year, thereby giving the government greatly flexibility to respond to market conditions.
Among other things, the draft would let the Cabinet set quotas for economic migrants or introduce compulsory integration courses for foreign workers.
On February 25 1969, exactly one month after Jan Palach, another man set himself alight in protest to Czechoslovak apathy following the Soviet invasion of 1968. The name of the second human torch was Jan Zajíc, a high school student from Šumperk. Fifty years on his act still brings chills of shock, but also respect among Czechs.
About 200,000 foreigners work in the Czech capital and constitute one fifth
of the workforce, according to an analysis by the City’s Institute of
Planning and Development (IPR Prague).
Foreign workers in Prague are mainly filling jobs requiring unskilled labour it said. Two-thirds are citizens of non-EU countries.
At the end of June 2018, according to the study, most were citizens of Ukraine (49,306), Russia (23,338), Vietnam (12,765), US (6,556) and China (4,967).
Meanwhile, a study by Sociological Institute of the Academy of Sciences notes that four in five foreigners registered in Prague have a high school diploma or university degree.
Among those following developments in Venezuela with avid interest are Venezuelan emigres who have made a new life in the Czech Republic. For many of them Juan Guaido represents new hope that they will one day be able to return home. Czech Radio spoke to three Venezuelans about their take on the current developments, their fears for the present and hopes for the future.
The Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs is considering more regulation
of agency employment. It also wants the Labour Office to have more powers
to combat the exploitation of foreign workers, Minister Jana Maláčová
told the Czech News Agency on Friday. She said these measures were part of
a larger set that will be included in an employment bill due to be
published in the second quarter of this year.
The minister also reacted to an investigative article published by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, which reported on miserable conditions for migrant workers employed at a Czech company owned by Agrofert, a conglomerate founded by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Ms. Maláčová said the article could act as an incentive for an investigation by labour inspectors. Mr. Babiš has said the Deutsche Welle story was ‘made up’.
Illegal migration to the Czech Republic has stabilised since the migrant
crisis of 2015, with fewer than 5,000 people found to be in the country
last year without required papers, the Foreign Police say.
The majority of the 4,992 foreigners found to be in the country illegally were Ukrainians, followed by Moldavians, Vietnamese, and Russians. In total, that is 254 more people than in 2017.
The number of foreigners who arrived legally but overstayed their visas rose by 165 to 4,653.