What is required to work in the Czech Republic?
According to the Czech Labour Code, an expat needs to obtain a work permit in order to work in the country, unless he/she is exempted from the obligation. The work permit stands for a special authorization for foreigners who want to work in the Czech Republic. Without this permission and without a valid visa for the purpose of employment, it is illegal to work in Czech Republic. Fortunately, most foreigners coming from Europe are not supposed to encounter any bureaucratic hurdles before starting to work in the Czech Republic as the formalities relating to it are required to be handled by an employer, not employees. There is a huge group of people who are not required to get the work permit, specifically as follows:
• citizens of the EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Island or family members of citizens of such a countries;
• foreigners who have a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic;
• asylum seekers;
• foreigners staying in the Czech Republic based on a long-term residence permit who are in the country for a reason of family reunion with a foreigner who has a permanent residence permit or is an asylum seeker;
• students engaged in full-time studies;
• Individuals who finished high school or university studies in the Czech Republic.
The above-mentioned groups of people coming to the Czech Republic have free hands to start working immediately, only their employers have to send an info card to the Labour Office. However, this doesn't apply for those wishing to work in the Czech Republic as employees without being an EU citizen or member of any other exempted group either. In such a case, having a work permit (“povolení k zaměstnání”) or a long-term residence permit ("povolení k dlouhodobému pobytu") is required along with a visa issued for work purposes.
Moreover, if an expat applies for a job where a certain level of qualification is necessary, he/she must show a certificate (and also a list of completed classes) proving such qualification. This certificate must be legalized in the Czech Republic; it means it must be officially accepted by the Czech Ministry of Education.
Where to get a work permit
The official authority to file an application for the work permit is the Labour Office of the Czech Republic ("Úřad práce České republiky") having offices in every city of the country. For example the main Prague's office can be found in address Roháčova 133/13. The application has to include the potential employer, the job position, the place of work, and the length of time the job will last. The bad news is that Czech citizens are privileged over foreigners in getting a job directly advertised by the Labour Office. This means that the position must be advertised at least for 30 days and if the position cannot be filled with any Czech person, only then the foreigner can apply for a work permit for such such a position. This rule does not apply for jobs that are not advertised on Laboor Offices channels.
After filing in the work permit application, the administrative fee 500 CZK needs to be paid. The issued work permit cannot be passed to anybody else, lasts only for a specific period of time (maximum is 2 years, but can be extended) and is valid only for the certain employer. Due to the stringent administration conditions, the process of obtaining the work permit can take up to 4 months. The website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs provides detailed instructions on how to fill in and submit the application for the work permit. It is common practice that the work permit is combined with a residence card in a so-called dual employee card.
Additionally, there is an option for an EU-recognized residency permit, so-called Blue cards, typically provided to high-skilled (requiring university education) and high-income (at least 1.5 times the Czech average income) professionals. The Labour Office lists those positions in a special registry.
Author: Lukáš Beňa
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