The Czech Republic: Amendment to the Act on Asylum touches Business Immigration
Amendment to the act on Asylum in the Czech Republic is the 46th amendment of the Immigration law since 1999 when new immigration legislation has been adopted. The amendment has been signed by the President of the Czech Republic on 24th November 2015 and will come into force on 18th December 2015.
Even though it is an amendment to the act on Asylum, several new provisions will be touching also Business Immigration. The main changes will be the following:
New definition of a non-EU family member of an EU citizen, who will be newly able to enjoy the above mentioned status;
Long-term visas will be issued for a period of up to 1 year instead of 180 days;
Changes in deadlines for submission of long-term residency permit applications and their extensions;
Stricter rules for counting of continuous stay of non-EU nationals in the Czech Republic for the purpose of Permanent Residency application;
New conditions for children traveling without parents.
The amendment brings number of negative and positive changes. Among the positive ones, we can mention a new definition of a non-EU national who is a family member of an EU national. This category will newly include also:
Any descendants younger then 21 years of age;
Any ascendants and descendants of an EU national, who are reliant financially or in terms of personal care on the EU national.
On the other hand, the Immigration Authority will impose stricter rules for proving non-married partnership relationships of non-EU nationals with EU nationals for the purpose of obtaining family member of an EU national status. Those applicants will have to prove that they are maintaining a common household in the Czech Republic and their relationship is “strong and intense”.
The benefit of being, as a non-EU national, a family member of an EU national is, that, the non-EU national can enjoy free access to the Czech labor market without necessity of having a work permit or Employee Card.
Another positive change is, that long-term visas issued to non-EU nationals will be newly issued for a period of up to one year, instead of 6 months. This is good news mostly for students and for family members of non-EU employees/assignees coming to the Czech Republic, as they currently need to extend the long-term visa (apply for long-term residency permit) shortly after their arrival to the Czech Republic (i.e. after 3 months). The down part of this new arrangement is, that once a dependent (family member) of non-EU employee receives a long-term residency permit after 6 months of his/her stay in the Czech Republic, is then eligible to free access to the Czech labor market. This will be, after the new amendment will come into legal force, possible only after 1 year of stay on the long-term visa.
The most important change, which the amendment brings, is the change of the deadlines for submissions of a residency permit applications and their extensions. In case of the Employee Cards (joint work and residency permit), it will be possible to file the application for extension 120 days prior to the expiry date the soonest and 30 days prior to the expiry date the latest (currently it is 90 days prior to the expiry the soonest and 14 days prior to the expiry the latest).
We can expect, that the Employee Card holders, who are used to the deadline for submission of the extension application set to 14 days prior to the expiry date, might have difficulties if they are not aware of the change. In case the extension application is filed late, the extension application is automatically denied and the applicant has to stop working and file an application for a new Employee Card on the Embassy of the Czech Republic.
In case of the other residency permits (i.e. dependents, students, entrepreneurs etc.), the application can be filed 120 days prior to the expiry date the soonest and on the date of expiry the latest (instead of the current state of 90 days prior to the expiry date the soonest and 14 days prior to the expiry date the latest).
Non-EU nationals who would like to apply for permanent residency in the Czech Republic will have to calculate their 5 years of continuous stay in the Czech Republic in greater detail – for example, if a person is assigned by his/her employer to work abroad, the period of stay outside the Czech Republic will not be counted if the assignment will exceed 10 consecutive months and exceeds, during the 5 year period, 560 days. Further, the period when a non-EU national is seconded to the Czech Republic by his/her foreign employer (does not have Czech employment agreement), will not be counted for the purposes of permanent residency at all.
The Amendment also includes a number of minor changes like:
Possibility for the Immigration Authority to request, from the applicant, a statement that he/she waives confidentiality against the Financial and Social Security Authority in favor of the Immigration Authority, which will then be able to request data about the applicant’s incomes in the Czech Republic;
Under-age child applying for a residency permit in the Czech Republic without his/her parents will have to provide a consent of the parents with the residency of the child in the Czech Republic;
It will be possible for the Immigration Authority to cancel a residency permit of a person who has committed and has been sentenced for intentional crime.