A new law affecting intracompany transferees (ICTs), seasonal workers, non-EU permanent residents and company representatives, among other categories of foreign nationals, is expected to be effective in June 2017. The proposed provisions are subject to change during the legislative process.
The main changes are described below.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is introducing an ICT Card in line with the 2014 EU Directive. Workers who have worked for an employer outside the Czech Republic for at least six months who are transferred to the Czech Republic as a manager, specialist or trainee will be eligible for the ICT Card.
The duration of the assignment cannot exceed three years (or one year for trainees) and the employee must return to the home employer after the end of the assignment. ICT Card holders must earn at least the minimum wage in the Czech Republic.
The current requirements for assigned employees, including applying for an Employee Card, will remain in effect after implementation of the ICT Card. ICT card holders’ family members will be allowed to apply for long-term residency permit and will have free access to the Czech labor market.
Work at a client site will not be allowed.
ICT Card holders from a different EU country will be able to work in the Czech Republic for 90 days in a 180-day period under the Vander Elst provision. For stays over 90 days, the ICT Card holder must obtain an Employee Card.
The advantages of the Employee Card option over the ICT Card are as follows:
- Processing time of 60 days instead of 90 days for the ICT Card;
- No condition for previous employment at the home employer; and
- Assignment not limited to three years.
The law will create a new residency category for seasonal employees, called the Long-Term Visa for Seasonal Work.
Holders of this visa will not be allowed to change their residency in the Czech Republic, so if they find new employment (or other purpose of stay) in the Czech Republic, they will need to submit an application for the Employee Card/other Residency Permit to a Czech consular post abroad.
Representatives will no longer will allowed to apply for an Employee Card.
Representatives under an Employee Card or those with pending Employee Card applications at the time of the implementation of the law will still be able to obtain and extend their Employee Card without limitation.
Investment Residency Permits
To attract foreign investors, the law will introduce an Investment Card for investors whose company will create new positions for Czech nationals. A minimum investment amount has not yet been set but is likely to be at least CZK 10 million.
The Investment Card will have a processing time of 30 days, however, it is expected to include a complex application process.
Permanent Residency Permits for Non-EU Nationals
Non-EU nationals are currently eligible for a Permanent Residency Permit after five years of Long-Term Residency in the Czech Republic. The new law clarifies that the applicant will have to fulfill the residency condition upon submission of their Long-Term Residency application.
Submission of Residency Permit Applications
According to the Czech immigration law, applicants must submit a Visa/Residency Permit application at a consular post in person.
The new law will allow employers hiring employees under the Fast-Track, Welcome Package or Project
Ukraine schemes to apply for Employee Cards, Blue Cards and ICT Cards on behalf of their future employees in the Czech Republic.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
ICTs and investors should discuss the benefits and disadvantages of the new law with their immigration professional. Changes in certain processes could affect fees.
Employees under the Fast-Track, Welcome Package or Project Ukraine schemes should benefit from the new rule that will allow their employers to apply for Employee Cards, Blue Cards and ICT Cards on their behalf in the Czech Republic.