Number of foreigners living in the Czech Republic hits record high

The percentage of foreigners in the Czech Republic exceeded six percent for the first time in 2021, before the wave of refugees from Ukraine this year.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 07.08.2022 09:58:00 (updated on 07.08.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The percentage of foreigners living in the Czech Republic exceeded six percent for the first time by the end of 2021, even before the wave of refugees from Ukraine entered the country this year, according to a new government report on migration and integration of foreigners released this weekend.

At the end of 2021, there were 660,859 foreigners registered as living in the Czech Republic. That number represents an increase of four percent over 2020, when 634,790 foreigners were registered, and nearly 100,000 more than just three years ago, when 566,931 foreigners were registered in 2018.

That number is likely to be significantly higher this year. Seven months into 2022, the Czech Republic has issued 404,000 special visas to Ukrainian refugees, though not all who have received visas have remained in the country.

Last year, a total of 1,411 people applied for asylum or special protection in the Czech Republic, an increase of about twenty percent over 2020. Citizens of Ukraine, Georgia, and Afghanistan most often sought refugee status.

"In 2021, the number of submitted applications was mainly reflected in those fleeing from Afghanistan after the Taliban movement took power," the report states.

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"Citizens of Afghanistan became the third largest group of applicants. The order of the first two places did not change in 2021, the most applications were still submitted by citizens of Ukraine and Georgia." 

After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last year, the Czech Republic evacuated about 200 people from the country over three flights. According to the report, 150 of them applied for asylum in the Czech Republic.

In total, the Czech Republic issued the highest number of residence permits to Ukrainians last year. Citizens of Vietnam and Russia were second and third among most common nationalities issued residence permits in 2021.

Roughly two-thirds of all applications for residence permits who from those outside the EU last year. Among EU citizens, Slovaks were the most common nationality to request a residence permit to live in the Czech Republic.

According to the report, the increase in the number of foreigners living in the Czech Republic last year was largely due to labor migration. The country issued 185,000 short-term working visas alone.

Levels of illegal migration to the Czech Republic also rose last year, according to the report. A total of 11,170 illegal migrants were documented in 2021, an increase of more than 50 percent over the previous year and the highest number over the past 14 years. According to the report, however, this was largely due to foreigners violating emergency pandemic measures issued by the Czech Health Ministry.

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