• Government Eases Degree Recognition Requirements for Work Permits, Increases Maximum Permit Validity Period
  • September 17, 2012
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Foreign degree recognition requirements have been eliminated for work permit renewals and eased for initial applications from certain high-level foreign workers, and the maximum validity period for work permits has been increased to 24 months, under new guidelines from the Czech Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

    In addition, non-European Economic Area (EEA) national dependents of EEA nationals residing in the Czech Republic must now obtain a European Union Residence Permit before they can work in the country.

    Degree Recognition Requirement Eased for Work Permit Applicants

    Work permit renewal applications no longer require the foreign beneficiary’s educational certificate be officially recognized as the equivalent of a Czech degree, through a government process known as nostrification.

    The Czech labor ministry began requiring nostrified degrees for renewals in May 2012, which added significantly to the time necessary to prepare renewal applications because the nostrification process often takes two to three months to complete. Nostrified degrees are still required for renewal applications that were filed between May 25 and August 17, when the requirement was in place.

    There are now exemptions to the nostrification requirement for initial work permit applications from executives and senior managers (level 1 in the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO)) and certain highly skilled workers. Executives and senior managers can now submit a copy of their degree and an official statement from their employer confirming their competence for their position in lieu of a nostrified degree.

    For skilled workers whose positions qualify under level 2 in the ISCO, a proof of equivalency issued by the National Academic Recognition Information Center (NARIC) will be accepted in lieu of a nostrified degree. The NARIC certification typically only takes 30 days to process, with complex cases taking up to 60 days.

    Maximum Validity of Work Permit Is Increased

    Work permits may now be granted for a maximum initial period of 24 months, up from the previous maximum of 12 months. The maximum validity period will depend on the education level of the applicant, with those holding a college level degree or who have completed at least a three-year course of vocational studies qualifying for the 24 month maximum.

    Non EEA Dependents Need EU Residence Permit to Work

    Non-EEA dependents of EEA nationals residing in Czech Republic must now obtain a European Union Residence Permit before they can work in the country. This will significantly delay the work authorization process for these individuals, because obtaining an EU Residence Permit typically takes two to three months. Previously, non-EEA national dependents of EEA nationals could begin work while their EU Residence Permit application was pending.