Further loosening of rules for foreigners
On 4 May 2020, the government adopted several resolutions significantly expanding the options for foreign employees to come to work in the Czech Republic, thus at least partially accommodating the needs of employers. The government should resume the process of granting visas, and allow foreign employees from third countries to cross our borders.
The government’s resolution of 23 April allows for the economic migration of employees that are EU citizens (for more information, please see our article here). Effective from 11 May, this will also apply to four groups of third-country citizens:
- seasonal workers
- key personnel and their family members who have been granted visas after 11 May 2020
- personnel working in healthcare and social services and their family members who have been granted visas after 11 May 2020
- holders of entry visas granted to pick up residence permits in the CR (D/VR visas)
All the above groups may enter the CR if they submit a negative Covid-19 test not older than four days. Simultaneously, their regime in the first two weeks of their stay in the CR will be restricted, allowing only essential travel. For these foreign nationals, employers must arrange accommodation, travel, medical care and also a return trip back to their country of origin if employment is terminated.
Another welcome development is the resumption of the acceptance of some visa applications by embassies, again from 11 May 2020. However, this measure will only apply in some countries, depending on the local pandemic situation. A list of countries to which the loosening does not apply will be published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. What groups of foreign nationals may file applications for visas and residence permits? Which types of applications does the government resolution apply to?
- applications for short-term work permits for specific groups of foreigners (family members of Czech and EU citizens, critical infrastructure maintenance personnel, etc.)
- applications for long-term permits to perform seasonal work
- applications for extraordinary work permits
- applications of foreigners qualifying for the government’s Key and Scientific Personnel Programme
- applications of foreigners falling into the government’s Highly Qualified Personnel and Qualified Personnel Programmes if they work in health care or social services
Another positive piece of news is the resumption of proceedings to handle applications for residence permits submitted before the declaration of the state of emergency within all the three governmental programmes: Key and Scientific Personnel, Highly Qualified Personnel, and Qualified Personnel. The government has also resumed approval proceedings for applicants for long-term or permanent residence for the purpose of being united with their families or relating to specific groups of foreigners applying for short-term visas (e.g. critical infrastructure maintenance personnel).
A further relaxation of the rules for foreign nationals coming to the CR is to be expected with the gradual slow-down of the Covid-19 pandemic.