Czech government plans to digitize residence-permit process for foreigners

Critics, though, say the change would do little to fix the underlying problems in the fragmented process.


Written by ČTK Published on 27.04.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 27.04.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

The Czech Interior Ministry has prepared a bill on the digitization of the residence permits of foreigners, based on which they would communicate with the authorities online, fill in online forms, and be automatically informed about the stage of the proceedings, ministry spokeswoman Klára Dlubalová said in a press release.

The new law, if passed, will make the rules on the residence of foreigners clearer and speed up the procedure for granting residence permits.

"The current law is already outdated and, due to frequent amendments, unclear," Dlubalová said.

Digitalization is the main planned change. The ministry wants to build a new information system assisting foreigners with establishing their electronic identity and user account.

"Foreigners will be able to communicate with the authorities and vice versa from the comfort of their homes through the foreigners' account. The whole process will be simpler and faster," Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said.

However, according to Miroslav Mejtský, a specialist in the relocation of foreign labor from the law firm Petyovský & Partners, the new regulations will not remove the complexity of the immigration process.

"The digital system will only copy the current administrative one, where the biggest problem in practice is the length of the immigration procedure for relocation from abroad," he told ČTK.

He said the law would not boost the flexibility of a procedure that is fragmented between three ministries – Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Labor and Social Affairs.

The Interior Ministry says the new legislation is based on the current law and the conditions for granting a residence permit have not been largely changed. In addition to the digitization of the residence agenda, the bill will introduce a change in the registration of EU citizens who wish to stay in Czechia for more than 90 days.

"The role of the so-called 'guarantor' – a person or entity (for example, an educational, scientific or cultural institution, employer, sports clubs, etc.) that guarantees the foreigner's purpose of stay in our territory – will also be emphasized," Dlubalová said.

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