Changes to Qualified Employee relocation programme
As of 1 January 2021, both the minimum wage and the lowest guaranteed wage level have increased. This affects, among other things, one of the programmes for the economic migration of foreigners – the Qualified Employee programme. And this is not the only change to the programme effective from the new year.
The Qualified Employee programme is one of three current government programmes to support economic migration. It significantly simplifies procedures for foreign workers coming to the Czech Republic and obtaining necessary work and residence permits. Applicants covered by the programme are guaranteed the option to submit their applications at a Czech Republic embassy abroad, at a specific date – which is not always standard, especially during the pandemic.
The Qualified Employee programme is intended for less qualified workers from Belarus, Montenegro, the Philippines, India, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Serbia, and Ukraine. An employer must conclude an employment contract with the foreigner for at least one year. Since this programme is intended for less qualified foreigners, the employer must undertake that for the entire duration of the employment, the foreigner will receive a wage or salary of at least 1.2 times the guaranteed wage for the relevant work as per applicable legislation. To have a foreigner included in the programme, these conditions must be observed.
From 1 January 2021, the minimum monthly wage is CZK 15,200, the lowest level of guaranteed wage ranges from CZK 15,200 to CZK 30,400 per month. In this respect, the minimum level of wage for individual groups of applicants included in the Qualified Employee programme has also increased: for standard 40-hour work, it now ranges from CZK 18,240 to CZK 36,480 per month depending on the category of work in which the foreigner is included. Also, from the beginning of the year, the minimum level of wage must be indicated in the vacancies report in the central register of vacancies to be staffed by employment card holders.
With the increase in the wage levels, fees for the inclusion in the Qualified Employee programme for employers and employees have also increased from the beginning of the year. The fee for the inclusion in the programme is CZK 3,000 for the first applicant, while CZK 200 is charged for each additional applicant stated in the application. For the inclusion of another applicant within the annual validity of the first inclusion, the fee is CZK 1,500; same as for the inclusion of the first applicant in the programme, CZK 200 is charged for each additional applicant. In practical terms: for the first five applicants, an employer shall pay a fee of CZK 3,800; if after six months the employer decides to include another five employees, the fee shall be CZK 2,300.