An amendment to the law on foreigners, in effect as of the beginning of August, has brought a series of changes concerning mainly foreigners from non-EU countries. Among other things, it introduces compulsory integration courses and quotas for economic migration. But, according to migration experts, the law is excessively restrictive.
Czech society has changed dramatically since 1989, and not only
politically. Czechs are living longer and having fewer children, but while
the population is aging it is not declining, thanks to an influx of
immigrants. These are among some of the more striking findings of the Czech
At the time of the Velvet Revolution, the life expectancy for a Czech man was 68, eight years lower than today at 76. In the last year of Communism, a Czech woman could expect to live to 75.5, compared to 82 now.
Seniors now account for nearly 20 percent of the population, up from 13 percent in 1989. Meanwhile, children under the age of 15 make up 16 percent of the population, down from 22 percent three decades ago.
The Czech Republic experienced a baby boom around 2008, when the so-called Husák's children generation of the 1970s, began having children of their own. Even so, the annual birth rate reached a maximum of 120,000. In recent years, it has been around 114,000.
At the time of the Velvet Revolution, there were 3.4 foreigners for every 1,000 Czechs compared to 53 today. Thirty years ago, one in 294 residents were born abroad, compared to one in 19 today.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the Czech Republic doesn’t want a new president of the European Commission that would bring back migrant quotas. As he left for a summit in Brussels, he also said he would not now be discussing a Commission audit finding him in conflict of interest with its outgoing chief.
Last year the Czech Ministry of the Interior granted asylum to one in 10
applicants, iRozhlas.cz reported on Tuesday, citing data from Eurostat. The
chance of asylum being granted in this country is three times lower than
the EU average, the news site said.
The total number of people who received asylum or additional protection from the Czech authorities in 2018 was 155, equivalent to 15 per million inhabitants.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior said the Czech authorities received fewer applications from citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – who are considered most in danger – than states such as Germany and Greece.
The Czech Republic has a higher percentage of asylum seekers from countries like Ukraine, Georgia, Cuba and Armenia.
A total of 1,350 people applied for asylum in the Czech Republic last year,
according to figures released by the European Union’s statistics office
Ukrainians traditionally made the most asylum requests, followed by Cubans and Georgians.
The overall number of people seeking asylum in the European Union dropped by 11 percent year-on-year to 580,000. Most of the asylum seekers came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Czech society has traditionally been quite homogenous. Of course, there have always been regional differences in dialect, culture, folk music. But people understand each other no matter which part of the country they come from, consider themselves to be of one nationality. And that has started changing.
The Czech Republic absented itself from a meeting of UN representatives in
Marrakesh on Monday at which 164 states signed the Global Compact on
The Czech government announced earlier that it would withdraw from the pact citing ambiguities in its interpretation. Czech officials argue that the compact does not draw a clear line between legal and illegal migration or state that illegal migration is undesirable.
Around a dozen other countries including the US, Austria, Hungary and Poland have also refused to support the global compact.
The Czech government has reportedly decided not to join the UN migration
pact but will formally debate the move this coming Wednesday. Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has argued that the agreement fails to
distinguish between legal and illegal migration. A decision is expected
following the debate.
The Czech Republic, along with 191 other UN member states, in July approved the non-binding Global Compact for Migration, which aims to offer better protection to migrants and refugees.
The document will be officially signed in December, in Morocco. Two other Central European countries, Austria and Hungary, have already withdrawn from the agreement, as have the United States and Australia.