Effective 1 July 2023, significant changes have been made to the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals. The amendment primarily implements the EU Blue Card Directive and reflects some operational requirements. Any changes simplifying the procedure for those interested in the Blue Card are welcome, as they will make this type of residence permit more attractive.
The Blue Card is a dual residence permit – it combines residency and labour-law aspects for highly qualified jobs. The Blue Card is less used by foreigners in the long term than the employment card, which is a similar type of residence permit. With the changes, the EU is aiming to make the labour market more attractive to highly qualified workers from third countries.
The amendment to the Foreigners’ Residence Act introduces the following changes concerning the Blue Card, among others:
Blue Card validity for up to 3 years
Under the new rules, a Blue Card can be issued with a validity of up to three years, reducing the frequency of foreigners’ visits to the Czech Ministry of Interior’s Department of Asylum and Migration Policy. Blue Card renewal will continue to be possible, even repeatedly, for a maximum of three years each time.
Professional experience suffices instead of a diploma
Before 30 June 2023, the applicant's qualifications had to be supported by a diploma from a university or college with a length of study of at least three years. Newly, workers in the field of information and communication technologies can substitute such diploma by proving the relevant professional experience.
Alternative to employment contracts
It is now possible to replace an employment contract, which had to be obligatorily attached to the application for the issuance of a Blue Card, by a contract on a future contract. The minimum term of these contracts has been reduced from 12 to six months.
Change of employer or job position without the ministry’s consent
The amendment also facilitates the process of changing one’s employer or job position for Blue Card holders: consent with the change by the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic where the applicant has held a Blue Card for less than two years is no longer necessary. Now it is sufficient to notify the ministry of the change within three working days of the change.
Shorter processing time
Shortening the deadline for issuing a Blue Card if the foreign national holds a Blue Card in another EU country may also help to make it more attractive. In such cases, the amendment shortens the time limit from the previous 90 to 30 days, or to 60 days in particularly complex cases. If family members are applying for long-term residence permits with the main applicant, the decision shall be issued to them together with the decision on the Blue Card application.
Employer’s debt-free status
Under the new rules, one of the reasons for revoking a foreigner's Blue Card is their employer not being debt-free. In such a case, the ministry will notify the foreigner who then has three months to find a new employer if they have been a Blue Card holder for less than two years; if they have held a Blue Card for at least two years, they have six months to find a new employer.
New calculation of unemployment period
While providing a more flexible approach to Blue Card applicants, the amendment also tightens the conditions concerning a Blue Card holder’s unemployment: the Blue Card will be cancelled if the aggregate period of a foreign national’s unemployment during the validity of the Blue Card exceeds 3 months and if they have been its holder for less than two years; if the foreign national has held a blue card for at least two years, the card will be cancelled once the unemployment period exceeds 6 months.