The employment of foreigners in the Czech Republic is governed by Act No. 435/2004 Sb., on Employment (the “Employment Act”). For the purposes of the Employment Act, a foreign national is not a citizen of the European Union or a member of his/her family, or a family member of a citizen of the Czech Republic that is not a citizen of the Czech Republic or another EU Member State.
A foreign national may only be employed in the territory of the Czech Republic on the assumption that (i) he/she has a valid employment permit and (i) a valid residence permit or (iii) is a holder of the Green Card or the EU Blue Card and only if (iv) the employer’s intention to fill a specific vacancy by a foreign national (including the specification of their number, if there are more foreign nationals, type of work to be performed and the expected period of work) is notified in advance, and discussed with, the competent regional Employment Bureau office (the “Regional Employment Bureau Office“). In fact, employment is deemed to also include the performance of tasks arising from a legal entity’s activity that are carried out by a partner, director or officer of a corporation or another corporate body or a member of a cooperative or a director or a member of another body of the cooperative. The employment permit is also required for seasonal employment and in cases when a foreign national is posted to work in the Czech Republic by his/her foreign employer under a contract with a Czech legal entity or individual. This article, however, does not address the conditions of employing foreign national directors or officers, the seasonal employment and posting of foreign nationals by foreign employers.
An employment permit (the “Permit”) is usually requested by a foreign national before his/her arrival in the Czech Republic by a written application to the competent Regional Employment Bureau Office or via his/her employer that is to employ the foreign national.
The application for the Permit is filed via a special form issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (“MLSA”). The request is available for download from the MLSA website and must include the following (i) a copy of the travel document page containing the foreign national’s personal details; (ii) a certificate of professional qualification to perform the given employment (such as a translated and authenticated copy of an apprenticeship certificate, school-leaving certificate, or university/college diploma). Since the publishing of the MLSA press release on 9 February 20121, a new unconditional requirement has applied for the nostrification of the documents under point (ii) above; the nostrification may be provided within a period necessary for obtaining the nostrification based on a permit granted by the director of the Regional Employment Bureau Office;2 (iii) the employer’s confirmation to employ the foreign national (the template can be downloaded from the MLSA website); (iv) other documents as required by the nature of the employment. The granting or refusal of a Permit is fully at the discretion of the relevant Regional Employment Bureau Office.
The Permit will be issued to the foreign national in view of the labour market situation and only if the vacancy involved has been notified and discussed in advance and may not be filled otherwise due to the required level of qualification or the lack of free labour forces. Since the publishing of the above-mentioned MLSA press release, with effect from 1 July 2012, the process of granting Permits has become more difficult as much focus has been placed on the MLSA requirement not to grant or carefully consider the granting or extension of Permits to foreign nationals in respect of a job where a lower level of qualification is required by the employer than completed secondary education with a school-leaving examination. The Permit is granted for a period not exceeding 2 years and may be extended repeatedly, again for a period not exceeding 2 years.3
The fee for the Permit is CZK 500 and the fee for Permit extension is CZK 250.
The requirements for granting a visa exceeding 90 days for employment purposes are regulated in Act No. 326/1999 Sb., on the Residence of Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic (the “Foreign Nationals Act“).
An application for a long-term visa for employment purposes can be filed in person in the Czech Republic’s embassy in the country of which the foreign national is a citizen or the country that issued the foreign national’s travel document or the country of the foreign national’s long-term or permanent residence (with exceptions as listed in Ministry of the Interior Decree No. 429/2010 Sb.). In the Czech Republic, the application can be filed in exceptional cases only, in the relevant office of the Ministry of the Interior. The statutory period for dealing with the application is 90 days of the date of filing or 120 days in especially complex cases. With effect from 1 January 2011, a visa is granted for a maximum period of 6 months.
The application must include the documents specified in Section 98 of the Foreign Nationals Act (a travel document; a document substantiating accommodation in the Czech Republic; a document confirming the purpose of the stay, i.e., the Permit or the reference number stated in the application for the Permit and the identification of the Regional Employment Bureau Office considering the application; a document identical to the statement of no criminal record; and on the basis of reasonable suspicion, a foreign national may be required to submit medical reports confirming that the person does not suffer from any of the grave illnesses specified in the Ministry of Health Decree No. 274/2004 Sb.).
Before the visa is stamped into the travel document, a certificate of travel medical insurance coverage for the territory of the Czech Republic of at least EUR 60,000 must be submitted. In the case of a visa for employment purposes, this should be a certificate of travel medical insurance coverage only for the period from the foreign national’s entry in the Czech Republic until the date of commencement of employment.
All foreign language documents except the travel document must be provided with an official translation into Czech and may not be older than 180 days except the travel document and documents from the register office.
After entering the territory of the Czech Republic, the foreign national is required to notify the place of residence to the Foreign Police department having local jurisdiction depending on the foreign national’s place of residence within 3 business days (this does not apply to foreign nationals under 15 years of age and foreign nationals who comply with the obligation with the landlord in accordance with Section 103 of the Foreign Nationals Act).
Where the purpose of the stay requires a stay exceeding 6 months, the foreign national must file an application for longterm residence, (it which may be granted for a maximum period corresponding to the term of validity of Permit).
The terms for granting the Green Card and the Blue Card are also regulated by the Foreign Nationals Act. The Green Card and the EU Blue Card entitle the holder to reside in the territory and perform the employment for the period stated in the card.
The Green Card may be applied for by foreign nationals that are citizens of countries (12 in total) listed in the Ministry of the Interior Decree No. 461/2008 Sb. (such as Japan, the U.S.A., Canada and Ukraine). The Green Card is, similar to the Permit, issued for a specific job with a specific employer, published in the register of vacancies available for Green Card holders as follows: (i) for skilled personnel with a university education and key personnel, (ii) for workers occupying jobs for which an apprenticeship certificate is required as the minimum, or (iii) for other workers. The documents that must be provided with the application are listed in Section 42 of the Foreign Nationals Act. Before granting the Green Card, the embassy may conduct an interview with the applicant. The qualification requirements, the period of validity and option of extension differ depending on the type of the Green Card. The EU Blue Card may only be applied for by a foreign national who has completed a university or higher vocational education, the duration of which was at least 3 years, irrespective of the country of origin. The EU Blue Card is granted for vacancies listed in the register of vacancies intended for Blue Cards and whose registration as such has been approved by the employer. The documents that must be provided with the application are listed in Section 42j of the Foreign Nationals Act. We are of the opinion that, analogous to the applications for Permits, the documents substantiating a high level of skills must be nostrified.
1 Press Release of 9 February 2012, MLSA’s Information on the Instructions for Employment Bureaus in Respect of Granting Employment Permits to Non-EU Foreign Nationals
2 MLSA’s Press Release of 15 March 2012, on Issuing Work Permits to Foreign Nationals
3 The requirements stated in this paragraph need not be complied with for Permits in cases listed in Section 97 of the Employment Act. No Permit is required in cases specified in Section 98 of the Employment Act