Czech Republic: Changes for Expatriates

With effect from 5 January 2012, a new obligation was introduced to report the start of employment of foreigners in the Czech Republic who are required to have a work permit. This rule is applicable both to direct employees and to assigned foreigners. Foreigners who have already worked with a valid work permit in the Czech Republic must be reported retrospectively by 4 April 2012.

Documentation requirements.
Employers are obliged to keep copies of documents justifying the foreigner’s stay in the Czech Republic and providing evidence of the existence of the employment relationship. The documents must be stored in the workplace for the period of the employment and for an additional three years period after the foreigner’s employment is terminated.

Stricter penalties for illegal work.
The amendment to the Czech Employment Act also introduces stricter penalties for illegal work, which may range from CZK 250,000 (approx EUR 10,000) to CZK 10,000,000 (approx EUR 400,000).

Work permits for foreigners from Non-EU Countries.
With effect from 1 July 2012, the Czech Labor Office will not issue any new or extend existing work permits with respect to vacancies for which employers require qualifications lower than the completion of secondary education, including a school leaving examination (with exceptions). Employment permits that have already been granted and whose holders have at least secondary education, including a school leaving examination, will only be extended if the position cannot be re-staffed with a registered employment applicant, but always for up to six months only.

Recognition of documents confirming completed education and qualifications.
A significant new requirement in employing foreigners is the recognition of a foreign document on completed education. The Czech Labor Office has now started to require documents from all foreigners (both directly employed and assigned) confirming their education in addition to their applications for employment permits. The diplomas must contain higher verification in the form of a super-legalisation or an Apostille, and must be recognized by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

Recognition of foreign university education.
A graduate from a foreign university must apply for the recognition of foreign university education and qualification either in person or through his/her representative in a Czech public university that provides an accredited educational programme with similar content. Together with the application, applicants must submit an officially-verified copy of a diploma and an officially-verified copy of a list of passed examinations or a diploma supplement to the rector’s office of the relevant Czech university. The application should be settled within 30 days, in more complicated situations within up to 60 days.

The amendment of the Czech Employment Act makes the access to the Czech labor market for foreigners more difficult. The new recognition requirements for foreign university education will extend a foreigner’s waiting period for a work permit by approximately 4 to 8 weeks. In addition, Czech universities are not and, in the near future, will not, be ready for the inflow of applications for recognition. For this reason we expect that the settlement term may become even longer.

Tomas Seidl

Barbara Krüglstein


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