A government bill for an amendment to the Alien Residence Act seeks to accommodate needs in the area of employment of foreigners. At first glance, the bill appears to make it easier for foreigners to gain a foothold in the Czech labor market. But there is a different way to look at this piece of „friendly“ legislation…
The Alien Residence Act governs the entry and stay of foreign citizens in(to) the territory of the Czech Republic, as well as their subsequent leave. An amendment bill that has so far made it to the second reading in the house of deputies addresses the status of foreigners who come from a third country and enter the territory of the EU for scientific research or studies.
The government-sponsored bill envisions several changes affecting such individuals. One example is a special mobility regime which allows third-country foreigners to travel across EU countries for research or studies on the basis of a residence permit obtained in any of the EU member states. In so doing, they may be accompanied by family members, or by another companion who has obtained a long-term residence permit in at least one member state.
A fundamental change that has been proposed in the amendment bill is the introduction of a route to long-term residence for seeking work or starting a business. It is addressed primarily to students after they have graduated or researchers who have completed their research project, and would allow them to stay another nine months on the territory of the Czech Republic (without optional extension). However, this type of residence permit does not automatically give free access to the labor market. Unless additional legal requirements have been met, such a third-country foreigner, while legally staying in the Czech Republic, may not simply pick up work: this would not constitute legal employment.
Another new concept, which at first glance appears to bring positive change, is the introduction of adaptation and integration classes for all foreigners from third countries. However, a closer look reveals that such courses already exist, though today they are offered on a voluntary basis and are free of charge. Going forward, these classes will become mandatory, and the costs are to be borne by the participant. This may ease the tug on the purse strings of the ministry of the interior, but for third-country foreigners, attending such adaptation and integration courses may become a comparative disadvantage because of the mandatory attendance and the fee charges.
That the government bill for the amendment of the Alien Residence Act is in actual fact a restrictive piece of legislation can be seen from the introduction of quota for economic migration. The upper limit for the number of foreigners is not stipulated in the act itself, which instead grants the government the power to set quotas for the maximum number of applications for a given kind of residence permit.
We will keep you posted on the development regarding this government bill for a new Alien Residence Act in future issues of our journal.
Alien Residence Act (Act No. 326/1999 Coll.) Government bill for the amendment of the Alien Residence Act and of certain laws, as amended; related legislation Explanatory memorandum concerning the government bill for the amendment of the Alien Residence Act Final report from the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) Summary of the final RIA report