Czech government passes bill to clarify who constitutes EU citizens' family members

The draft also would require foreigners with long-term residence to get insurance from a VZP subsidiary.


Written by ČTK Published on 02.06.2021 14:09:00 (updated on 02.06.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Prague, June 2 (ČTK) –The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, today passed a draft amendment to the foreigner law that would more clearly specify the circle of people classified as family members of EU citizens.

Despite broad criticism, members of the lower house also pushed through a provision under which foreigners with a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic would have to have commercial health insurance only with the subsidiary of insurance company Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (VZP) in the next five years.

The Health Ministry was among the opponents of this regulation, proposed by senior government ANO MP Miloslav Janulik. Moreover, the opposition Pirates and Civic Democrats (ODS), as well as the Chamber of Commerce and the anti-trust office ÚOHS, unsuccessfully stood up against it.

"The monopolization is out of place for us," Health Minister Adam Vojtech (ANO) told deputies.

He pointed out that there are seven health insurance companies in the Czech Republic. Minister of the Interior, Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats, ČSSD), was neutral about the proposal. The change was supported by the Social Democrats and the majority of ANO deputies, together with Communists (KSČM) and the SPD.

Janulík justified the proposal by the need to solve the problem that foreigners who come to the Czech Republic for work have to be provided with health care by doctors, without their being sure that they will be reimbursed.

Besides, the Chamber of Deputies supported the proposal for health insurance of children born to foreign women with a long-term residence permit. According to the proposal, these children should have access to the public health insurance common system for 60 days.

The amendment to the foreigner law will distinguish the closest family members from other relatives or close persons of EU citizens.

So far, the Czech Republic has not distinguished between family members – such as spouses, children, and parents of an EU citizen – and so-called authorized persons, for instance, unmarried partners and persons dependent on an EU citizen's care. Both groups had the same rights, which is not common in other countries and is not substantiated either, the Interior Ministry argued. In the future, only close family members should be entitled to a temporary residence card and a permanent residence card.

Also in the future, only the closest relatives will be entitled to temporary or permanent residence cards. People from the other group would have easier residence conditions in the Czech Republic than other foreigners under the draft, but they would not be automatically entitled to enter the Czech Republic. However, they will have their residence card issued for a longer time and will not have to prove the purpose of their stay in the country.

The new legislation is to prevent abuse of the residence institutes, the Interior Ministry said. Foreigners who already stay in the Czech Republic will keep their current status.

According to the Interior Ministry, the amendment mainly reacts to an EU regulation, demanding that ID cards and issued residence permits be more strongly secured. Consequently, some documents will have to be replaced.

In harmony with the Brexit deal, the amendment enables a longer stay in the Czech Republic to Britons who lived there rightfully as of the end of last year.

In the amendment, the Chamber of Deputies also modified the proceedings with the foreigners who apply for the recognition of the status of a person without citizenship. They would be granted the right to residence for 90 days, for instance.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more