Changes for losing residency proposed

People who repeatedly break the law may lose their permit faster

It will be quicker to cancel a residence permit and expel a foreigner if he or she is convicted three times of committing a criminal offense, under a proposed amendment to the Act on the Residence of Aliens on the Territory of the Czech Republic submitted by the government. The amendment still must be approved by Parliament and signed by President Miloš Zeman.

Canceling a residence permit now takes more than two years, even if the holder represents a security threat to the Czech Republic, according to Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (ČSSD). He said previously that his goal is to streamline the process of canceling a permit to six months, while still guaranteeing that constitutional requirements and access to an independent court are met.

A foreigner who loses a residency permit due to criminal activity could challenge the Interior Ministry decision by bringing the matter directly to an administrative court. The court would have to decide within 90 days. The same 90 day limit for a decision would apply to the Supreme Administrative Court if the case is appealed.

The proposed amendment also includes the possibility of quotas for issuing long-term residence permits for the purpose of gainful employment in the country. The introduction of quotas for economic migrants is justified by the level of workload for embassies abroad, which handle the permit.

In recent years, the number of applications for work visits has tripled. There were about 3,000 in 2014, more than 9,000 two years ago, according to daily Mladá fronta Dnes.

Foreigners will also be required to complete an integration course that will help them orient themselves in the new environment, acquaint them with the rights and obligations, with local conditions and customs and with the basic values of the Czech Republic and the European Union. Courses should take place in Centers for the Integration of Foreigners, which will be in all regions.

As of Dec. 31, 2018, there were 566,931 foreigners living in the Czech Republic. Of that, some 290,679 had long-term residency permits, and 276,252 has other types of permits.

The largest group of foreigners were Ukrainians, followed by Slovaks, Vietnamese, Russians, Germans and Poles.

In 1993, after the Czech Republic split from Slovakia, there were only 78,000 registered foreigners, of which 31,000 had long-term residency permits.

The current population of the Czech Republic, including foreigners, is 10,637,794, according to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ).

Foreigners make up 10.7 percent of the Czech workforce put only 5 percent of the population, according to ČSÚ figures from earlier this year.

The Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) reported that in Prague, the number of foreigners in the workforce reaches 25 percent.

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