Czech Republic: Business Trips of Foreigners Are Not Illegal

Employers will no longer have to be afraid of sanctions if they decide to send their foreign employees on a business trip within the Czech Republic.

Position of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
Since January 2012, the Czech Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has claimed that any business trips of foreigners working in the Czech Republic on the basis of a work permit are considered an illegal performance of work assignments. The Ministry based its assessment on the fact that the work permit is issued only for the specific place of employment and any work assignment outside this location is considered illegal, including business trips.

Decision of the Supreme Administrative Court.
In August 2013, the Czech Supreme Administrative Court refused such interpretation based on the following case: A Ukrainian citizen was employed by a Prague construction firm and was issued a work permit for the performance of work in Prague. However, he was later sent on a short-term business trip to a construction site in another Czech region. After an inspection at the construction site, deportation proceedings were initiated for the Ukrainian citizen due to an illegal performance of work. The principal argument of the administrative body related to the fact that the foreigner, as well as his employer, circumvented the law when they obtained a work permit in a region that is not faced with unemployment and in which it is common practice for work permits – even for less-qualified work positions – to be issued, whilst employees are subsequently sent to work in regions with a high unemployment rate. The Czech Supreme Administrative Court argued that there is currently no legal provision that regulates the time-limited secondment of a foreigner outside the place of work defined in the work permit. Pursuant to the Czech Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms, every individual is allowed to do anything that is not forbidden by law. Accordingly, foreigners cannot be limited in terms of being sent on a business trip.

Companies shall thus no longer be sanctioned for sending their foreign employees on business trips within the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, employers should provide their employees with a travel order. This issue will also be further dealt with in the forthcoming amendment to the Czech Employment Act, which re-introduces a provision related to business trips of foreigners. In line with this provision, it will be possible to send a foreigner on a business trip if this corresponds to the nature of the foreigner’s work assignment.

Miroslav Mejtský

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