The EU member states, Czechia among them, managed to respond at lightning speed to the situation in Ukraine and create the conditions for the integration of Ukrainian citizens into work life and the educational system.
Within just one month from the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the EU member states mustered an extremely fast response and have created the conditions for a successful integration of Ukrainian citizens into the working life and educational system of their host countries. In this context, the EU Council of Ministers passed Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 of 4 March 2022 establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection. The Czech Republic has implemented this decision in the form of two new acts of law: No. 65/2022 Coll., concerning the status of foreigners arriving from Ukraine, and Act No. 66/2022 Coll., governing matters of social security and employment. These acts came into force on Monday, 21 March 2022, will remain in force until 31 March 2023 for the time being, and mark a major departure from Act No. 326/1999 Coll. (the Aliens Residency Act, based upon which visas for tolerated stays are normally issued).
Visas; legalization of stay
Starting Tuesday, 22 March 2022, Ukrainian citizens and their family members with permanent residence in Ukraine, will be issued a newly introduced visa under the temporary protection directive. In deviation from the rules of the Aliens Residency Act (Act No. 326/1999 Coll.), this visa makes it possible to travel outside the Czech Republic to other EU member states. Foreigners who up until 21 March 2022 applied for, and received, a visa for a tolerated stay under Sec. 33 of the Aliens Residency Act need not worry: the status of their titles of stay will be updated automatically, to put them on equal footing with the temporary protection visa.
All other rules in connection with the legal stay of foreigners on Czech soil remain in place: whether the individual in question has family, friends, or acquaintances providing them with shelter in the Czech Republic or whether they arrived on their own, the stay must always be registered with the competent field office of the Czech Interior Ministry (by the person providing accommodation) or with the Regional Assistance Center for Aid to Ukraine (if the foreigner arrived on their own).
An important step forward is to grant refugees access to the labor market. From the vantage point of employment law, Ukrainian refugees are considered foreigners with permanent residence, doing away with the requirement of a work permit (and, on the part of the employer, with the need to first publish the vacancy with the Labor Office). Employers are merely obliged to notify the regional branch of the Labor Office of the fact that they hired a foreigner (no later than on the day on which the foreigner first reported for work). The termination of employment must be reported within 10 business days.
Social security benefits
Aside from one-time financial assistance in the face of immediate distress, people may apply for a humanitarian allowance in the amount of CZK 5,000/calendar month. This allowance may be drawn repeatedly, if the foreigner’s income, social, and property situation does not allow them to secure their basic living needs (whereas this fact may be evidenced by a simple affidavit), for a period of up to five calendar months.