#ImmiUpdatesCzechia We’re bringing you a big summary of what’s good to know about the current immigration situation regarding the war in Ukraine. Are you a Ukrainian refugee or planning to get your family here from Ukraine? Are you a Russian or Belarusian national working or hoping to work in Czechia? Then keep reading.
Refugees under temporary protection have temporarily free access to the job market.
Finding employment in Czechia
A new set of laws known as “Lex Ukraine” became valid on 21 March 2022. On its basis, refugees who have escaped the war in Ukraine are entitled to temporary protection, which is valid until 31 March 2023.
Holders of temporary protection do not need a work permit at the moment to be able to work – they have free access to the job market. (This ability also applies to those refugees who have since the start of the war received special visas for leave to remain. Those have been transferred into the new system of temporary protection.)
Are you a Ukrainian refugee who wants to become employed in Czechia? All your employer needs to do is report you to the Labour Office and keep a record of your presence in the company. (This is the same process as with EU citizens.)
Remember: This free access to the job market is only valid for the duration of the temporary protection visa – until 31 March 2022 – so you might want to apply for an employee card if you’re planning on staying in Czechia long-term.
Who’s entitled to temporary protection:
- Citizens of Ukraine who lived there before 24 February
- Citizens of Ukraine who legally lived in Czechia before 24 February – either without a visa (on 90-day stay) or on the basis of a short-term visa
- Foreigners who were given some form of international protection in Ukraine and who lived there before 24 February
- Family members of all these people (spouse, registered partner, unmarried underage child or relative dependent on care and living with the family) who also lived in Ukraine before 24 February
As of 21 February, all of these people can also apply for a humanitarian benefit of 5 000 CZK. They will also be able to participate in the public health insurance system and their children will be able to go to school. The capacity of classes for children of refugees has been increased and Ukrainian teachers will also be participating.
According to the Ministry of the Interior website, it is still possible to apply for a long-term visa for leave to remain in the territory. However, this visa is no longer issued in the fast regime as it was between 24 February and 21 March.
Did you leave Czechia to join the Ukrainian army?
Are you a holder of an employee card (or a blue card or an ICT card) and had to leave Czechia to join the Ukrainian army? Although you can in theory no longer fulfill the purpose of your stay in Czechia, your card will not be canceled while you’re away.
As long as your permit is still valid by the time the war is over, you can return to Czechia and resume your job.
About to arrive in Czechia as a refugee?
If you’re about to come to Czechia as a refugee, make sure to visit one of the regional assistance centers upon your arrival. The full list is available HERE.
No need to worry about anything. Once you arrive at the center, you’ll be taken care of by the volunteers who will help you apply for temporary protection. For this you’ll need to fill out this form (here is the print version), present your valid passport and – if possible – a photo in the format of 45 x 35 mm. Some centers provide the option to open a bank account as well.
To register for public health insurance, you can for example go on-line on the website of the VZP insurance company and do it there or you can visit one of the insurance offices of any insurance company in Czechia in person.
You also need to register with the Foreign Police within 30 days – especially if you have private accommodation. In other cases the owner of the property should do that for you. We recommend to double-check with the owner of your accommodation which case applies to you.
Do you need to apply for another type of stay (e.g. employee card) or you already have a permit that needs extending? Visit the Department of asylum and migration policy at the Ministry of the Interior instead of an assistance center.
Refugees in Czechia – benefits
- As a refugee under temporary protection, you’ll be able to place your children in a children’s group and will be given a financial benefit to do so for a duration of 6 months
- If you have the education/experience necessary for taking care of children, you may also be able to find employment there
- You can also apply for support in unemployment as well as repeatedly apply for assistance in material need (which you’ll get if you can provide proof of a lack of funds)
- You can also sign up for a requalification course
The movement of refugees – Czechia x the EU
Temporary protection issued in Czechia grants refugees benefits (public health insurance, education, etc.) in the place of its issuance (so only in Czechia).
You can travel across the EU for up to 90 as a part of your non-visa travels, but you won’t have free access to the job market anywhere else except for in Czechia and won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits anywhere else except for in Czechia.
Russia & Belarus – current situation
Citizens of Russia and Belarus currently cannot apply for visa and residence permits at Czech embassies, because they do not accept any applications at the moment. All ongoing and unfinished applications have been frozen. It is not yet clear for how long.
That being said, other applications, including extensions of permits of Russian and Belarusian citizens already living in Czechia (students, family members, etc.) will be processed as usual.
UPDATE: 1 April 2022
According to a new government resolution, all residence permits of Russian and Belarusian citizens that have been marked as ready for pick up WILL BE COMPLETED. They can travel to Czechia and book their appointment at the Ministry of the Interior to get their biometric card. This is relevant mainly for employee card and blue card applicants but also for long-term residence permit applicants who need to complete the process in Czechia.
Russian and Belarusian citizens who are family members of Czech citizens, family members of EU (and EEA) or persons whose presence in Czechia is in the country’s interest (certified by the Minister of Foreign Affairs) CAN NOW APPLY FOR SHORT-TERM VISA.