Rules for employing foreigners changed again in July
In step with the epidemiologic situation both in the Czech Republic and worldwide, the Ministry of Health continues to regularly update protective measures regulating the entry of foreign nationals into the Czech Republic. Two new protective measures were published in July, partly amending the approach to crossing borders. The newest protective measure entered into effect on 20 July 2020. What are the most significant changes? How will these affect the employment of foreigners?
Concerns regarding the reliability of certain foreign Covid-19 tests have led the ministry to cancel the condition under which foreigners were only allowed to enter the CR with a certificate confirming a negative coronavirus test not older than four days. Under the new protective measure, foreigners do not have to be tested abroad but must either undergo a test after they arrive in the CR and deliver the test results to a regional public health office within 72 hours of crossing the Czech border, or quarantine themselves.
Since 15 June 2020, the arrival of foreigners in the CR has been regulated by a traffic light system (Semafor, the ministry’s protective measure discussed in this article). It is necessary to distinguish between this Semafor and the Semafor for Czech regions presented by the Minister of Health on 27 July, showing the level of risk of infection in the individual Czech regions and districts. With the publication of the July protective measures, the Semafor rules for arrivals of foreigners in the CR have changed: the list of countries now also includes non-European countries and no longer divides the countries into three categories (colours) according to the risk of infection (red, orange and green) but only into the following two categories:
- High-risk countries (red) – Czechs and foreign nationals having spent time in these countries for at least 12 hours in the last 14 days must undergo a coronavirus test on their arrival in the CR. The existing rules remain in application, i.e. foreigners arriving from high-risk countries may only enter the CR if they hold a residence permit (e.g. a long-term visa) or under some of the exceptions permitted by the protective measure.
- Low-risk countries (green) – Czechs and foreign nationals arriving in the CR from these countries do not have to undergo a coronavirus test. However, the protective measure of 20 July introduces a special sub-category of countries falling under a stricter regime (currently: Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Sweden, Portugal, Romania, and Thailand). Foreign nationals from these countries may not commence their jobs without submitting a negative coronavirus test to their Czech employers.
A final but crucial change facilitates the entry of third-country citizens who are partners to Czech and EU citizens and have been separated from them due to the coronavirus pandemic. Previous rules only allowed the arrivals of family members where the relationship with the foreign nationals was regarded as unambiguously supportable (primarily, spouses and children). Under the new rules, these foreigners will be allowed to enter the CR if they have at their disposal their partner’s affidavit certifying the existence of a mutual relationship and guaranteeing accommodation and health care.