New government programmes for migration of foreign workers

Starting in September 2019 and in connection with changes to the Act on Residence of Foreign Nationals in the CR, government programmes facilitating the hiring of foreign workers have also been under revision. The most crucial change is the simplification of the entire process: the non-transparent and heterogenous programme system has been replaced with three new individual programmes, categorised by profession. Criteria for the inclusion of employers in the programmes have also been softened, so that now, e.g., a smaller number of required workers is acceptable and some previously mandatory appendices to documentation are no longer needed.

Key and Scientific Personnel Programme

This programme replaces two former programmes, Fast Track and Welcome Package, and is designed for top corporate positions involving managers, specialists, statutory body members and interns. The programme’s indisputable advantage is a shorter approval period for employee card applications, reduced from 60 to 30 days. It also allows for the relocation of workers together with their families, which in our experience many candidates require. Under the programme, it is also possible to replace part of the mandatory documentation with an employer’s affidavit. 

Highly Qualified Personnel Programme

The second programme is a combination of the Special Procedures for Highly Qualified Employees from Ukraine and India projects. The programme’s applicability has been significantly extended to cover almost 30 countries (such as Turkey and Belarus) and allows for the inclusion of applicants’ family members. Like the former programmes, it focuses on highly qualified personnel, i.e. applicants must be in CZ-ISCO classification positions 1 to 3 (i.e. managers, specialists and professional personnel), and it is possible to replace some of the required documents with the employer’s affidavit, as in the case of the programme above.

Qualified Personnel Programme

The third programme replaces three former programmes: Special Treatment Regime for Qualified Personnel from Ukraine; Regime for Other States; and Special Procedures for Personnel from Agriculture, Food Industry and Forestry from Ukraine. The programme’s applicability has been extended to other states such as Belarus, Montenegro, India, Kazakhstan and Moldavia. Like in the past, candidates in CZ-ISCO classification groups 4 to 8 can be included in this programme (i.e. mainly manual workers in services, sales and manufacturing).

To be included in the above programmes, employers must apply with a guarantor, always for a period of one year. During this time, employers may use the above simplified regimes to obtain the necessary work and residence permits for candidates meeting the individual programme’s criteria. The programmes offer several advantageous novelties, such as the automatic allocation of dates for filing a foreign national’s application for necessary permits, which is extremely helpful especially when dealing with certain embassies, e.g. in Ukraine or India, that are traditionally overloaded. The government sets annual quotas to determine the number of workers that can be relocated within the given programmes, in turn limiting the number of applications that can be filed with individual embassies.

Demand for foreign personnel varies; historically, the biggest demand has been for workers from Ukraine. We have recently noted increased interest in qualified candidates from India, the Philippines, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The above programmes may help tackle formalities even for these countries. However, it is necessary to proceed quickly, as this year’s quotas for the three last mentioned countries have already been exhausted. The quotas for the next year have not yet been published. 

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