Analysis aims at better integrating foreigners

The study looks at the topic in depth for the first time

An analysis of the situation of immigrants living in Prague is intended to be used by the Prague authorities to better target integration programs. The analysis was presented one of its co-authors, Yana Leontiyeva from the Sociology Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, at a conference called Challenges of Integration.

“The survey is unique and the first to have such a focus. The questionnaire is very extensive. It is an effort to find out as much as possible about foreigners. There are a lot of areas of their lives where not a lot is really known,” Leontiyeva said, according to weekly Týden.

The respondents were a representative sample of foreigners in Prague by citizenship and age. “The average age of respondents is about 38. About half of them are women and almost half of them have permanent residence in the Czech Republic. The average length of their stay is somewhat longer than seven years,” said the sociologist.

The research began last year. Some 1,091 foreigners answered 789 questions. More interviews with Vietnamese and people from EU countries are still ongoing. Experts are now processing the information. The results should be published in the autumn.

Interviews were conducted by 71 interviewers, half of whom came from abroad. The questions related to the location and length of stay, work, housing, families and offspring, education level or plans for the future.

The survey also looks at how much and in what situations foreigners use the Czech language, including whether they had courses and where they see language barriers. Researchers are also interested in information about the rights and obligations of foreigners.

The findings show that about half of the people are married. Most of the respondents have children, many of whom became parents in the Czech Republic. More than a third of Prague immigrants have a college education. Over half have jobs or do business. The share of foreign university students is also significant.

Since 2014, Prague has a separate department of national minorities and foreigners. The city also has an integration center and an integration concept that is valid until the end of this year. A new document is being prepared. Education is among its priorities. “The goal is for Prague to be the metropolis for all, where immigrants feel at home. … The city can be better because of diversity,” Anca Covrigová, head of the Integration Center, told Týden.

Foreigners make up about 14 percent of Prague's population. Prague had 1.27 million inhabitants last year. At the end of the year, 185,480 foreigners lived legally in the capital. Over 94,600 of them could remain permanently in the Czech Republic.

About one-third of the foreigners living permanently or temporarily in the Czech Republic are in Prague. Nationwide, foreigners make up 4.3 percent of the 10.57 million people in the Czech Republic.

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