- Recent country of immigration since 1990s, CZ has small non-EU immigrant population (2.5%) that is the largest in Central Europe after SI
- Overall employment rates dropped a few points in 2009-2011 but fully recovered by 2013/4
- Immigration declined sharply during crisis from 61,000 in 2008 to 21,000 in 2011, but increased afterwards in 2012 to 2013 to 45,000 due to work and 'other' reasons
- Right-wing and centre parties still dominate in government
- CZ public opinion is less positive towards immigrants than on average in Europe; for example only 1/4 believe immigrants enrich CZ economically and culturally
- Rank: 23 out of 38
- MIPEX Score: 45
- LABOUR MARKET MOBILITY 52
- FAMILY REUNION 57
- EDUCATION 38
- HEALTH 44
- POLITICAL PARTICIPATION 21
- PERMANENT RESIDENCE 51
- ACCESS TO NATIONALITY 49
- ANTI-DISCRIMINATION 48
Changes in context
Key Common Statistics
|Country of net migration since:||% Non-EU citizens||% Foreign-born||% Non-EU of foreign-born||% Non-EU university-educated||% from low or medium-developed (HDI) country|
|UN 2010 data in 2013||Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013||Note: Adults aged 18-64, Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013|
Changes in policy
- CZ continues to take the lead in Central Europe in developing an integration policy that can respond to the needs of local communities, immigrants and their children. Authorities took several 1st steps forward to remedy weaknesses identified by MIPEX in 4 areas, but also took a few steps back in 2 areas, family reunion and long-term residence. Overall, its general framework for integration advanced by +3 points on MIPEX from 2010 to 2014 (and +4 points from 2007 to 2010 due to the 2009 Anti-Discrimination Law)
- +17 on Political Participation: Authorities open some basic political liberties, ad hoc local consultative bodies and potential funding channels for immigrant-run associations
- +9 on Access to Nationality: 2014 Citizenship Act opens dual nationality for all and right to citizenship for CZ-educated youth, but significantly restricts the general requirements to become CZ citizens
- +3 on Education: Support expanded to non-EU pupils with limited CZ language proficiency
- +2 on Labour Market Mobility: Immigrants get more basic information about the labour market (+5) but less favourable access to trade licenses for newcomers wanting to open a business (-3)
- -5 on Family Reunion: Higher fees and income requirements for non-EU separated families, which are no longer based on the minimum levels generally required and allowed for all families to live in CZ
- -5 on Permanent Residence: Similarly higher fees and income requirements potentially out-of-touch with social and economic realities
- 0 on Anti-Discrimination: Since 2009 Anti-Discrimination Law doubled CZ's score, the law has remained generally unchanged, with average laws, weak equality body and no equality policies
Conclusions and recommendations
CZ's many settled non-EU residents and increasing number of newcomers face slightly more obstacles than opportunities to fully participate in society. CZ policies score 45/100 and rank 23rd, alongside others in Central Europe taking the very 1st steps to address immigration and diversity in society (EE, GR, HU, RO, SI). Most notably, CZ authorities have kept their Integration Concept 'Living Together' up-to-date in 2011 and 2014 and passed major citizenship reform in 2014. Whether these policies are effective in practice is hard to say in CZ or in most recent destination countries, given the lack of data, robust evaluations or structural consultation with immigrants themselves. Non-EU immigrants in CZ have been able to access work and, before recent restrictions, reunite with family and become long-term residents. However, compared to immigrants in other countries, they have been less likely to access training, quality jobs, CZ citizenship and the anti-discrimination law. For example, the number of discrimination complaints is still low, despite the 2009 law and the important number of people reporting discrimination in surveys. Its naturalisation rate, the EU's lowest in recent years, may be boosted by the 2013 citizenship reform if its requirements realistically reflect most immigrants' continued efforts to integrate in CZ society. Similarly, non-EU immigrants now face disproportionately high fees and income requirements to reunite with their family and become long-term residents, even though they were disproportionately affected by the global recession in CZ (similar approach in IT and ES, unlike in PT, SI and, perhaps soon, GR). CZ integration policies still have far to go in order to guarantee equal rights and opportunities for CZ and non-EU citizens. The policy is not strong in any area of integration, with strengths and weaknesses in each. Like most European countries, CZ policies are strongest in areas with EU law though gaps still emerge there. As more immigrant adults and children settle for the long-term, CZ authorities are starting to follow the trends from the more established immigration countries and provide essential support and reform in other areas, such as education, health, political participation and access to nationality. These more ambitious integration policies are certainly needed in CZ, which policymakers can see in the numbers of separated families, disenfranchised non-EU adults, settled residents without long-term residence or CZ citizenship and the potential victims not reporting discrimination.
Policy Recommendations from the Multicultural Centre Prague
- Guarantee equal access to the public health insurance system for temporary residents and their families
- Maintain existing realistic language requirements for temporary and long-term residents
- Allow local voting rights for permanent residents, following international reform trends
- Guarantee that all future CZ citizens are treated equally by establishing a clear right to become CZ citizens and removing vague integration and income requirements
- Strengthen the Public Defender of Rights’ powers to fight discrimination, following European trends
POLICIES - SUMMARY
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POLICIES - DETAILS
Labour Market Mobility
Combined with its responsive labour market and migration policy, the CZ's traditional policy of equal access has helped to create one of the most active and hardworking immigrant populations in Europe, though their limited access to training and benefits may keep them in lower-quality precarious jobs
How many immigrants could be employed?
Non-EU immigrants are more active in CZ than in any of the 24 other European countries with available 2011/2 Eurostat data. The numbers who are not in employment, education or training are relatively low (18.5%), comparable only to CY's labour migration-driven model and the inclusive Nordic/UK labour markets.
Do immigrants have equal rights and opportunities to access jobs and improve their skills?
Ranking 25th, CZ has taken the 1st short-term steps to prepare for its needs for immigrant workers. As in other labour migration countries, several categories of non-EU newcomers can work in all sectors of the economy, though self-employment was recently delayed for fear of abuse. But limited support and targeted measures may mean that these workers' labour market integration is not sustainable over the long-term, with insecure employment rates and lower-quality jobs. Many temporary migrant workers cannot quickly change jobs or sectors, access public employment services and training or most social benefits. While they can be better informed of their rights and opportunities as workers in CZ in recent years, they can rarely benefit from targeted work-related trainings or programmes besides ad hoc EU-funded projects.
Dimension 1: Access to labour market
- The economic crisis brought minor restrictions to non-EU residents' access to the labour market, supposedly in an effort to better regulate trade licences and employment agencies (-10 points on access)
- Their access remains relatively favourable to all types and sectors in CZ, alongside other countries with responsive labour migration policies
- Temporary migrant workers and their families are delayed in changing jobs and sectors until they become long-term residents and, since 2010 in opening their own business in their 1st 2 years in CZ
- In contrast, other new countries of immigration have been removing these obstacles to trade licenses for immigrant entrepreneurs (e.g. GR, HU, PL)
Dimension 2: Access to general support
- Non-EU citizens' access to general support is halfway favourable in CZ and most Central European countries, given the delays and potentially complicated procedures
- Temporary migrant workers and their families must wait to become long-term residence to fully use study grants, training and employment services intended for job-seekers (equal access for temporary workers guaranteed for training/education/employment services in most countries)
- Workers with non-EU professional qualifications and experience must go potentially more complicated procedures to get them recognised than EU citizens do
Dimension 3: Targeted support
- Targeted measures could better guarantee migrant workers’ labour rights and help them report employer abuses.
- Since 2010, CZ authorities have moved beyond ad hoc EU-funded projects to create a basic integration infrastructure to inform and orient immigrants through websites, leaflets and Regional Centres (+20 on targeted support since 2010)
- This basic information on rights and recognition procedures is increasingly common across Central Europe and new destination countries (e.g. GR, IT, ES), while immigrants can benefit from more extensive targeted support in most other countries of labour migration (e.g. DE, JP, KR, PT)
- Several other countries have programmes proven effective to boost the quality of immigrants' employment in terms of wage and overqualification, such as work-specific language training, recognition/retraining programmes and needs-based benefits
Dimension 4: Workers' rights
- With the 3rd lowest score on workers' rights like BG, PL, SK, CZ generally excludes non-EU workers from unemployment and social benefits unless they are long-term/permanent residents, refugees or beneficiaries of bilateral agreements (more equal in half the MIPEX countries)
- For example, a non-EU worker must wait 1 year to use family or housing benefits
- Access to in-work and out-of-work benefits can help immigrants get into the right qualified job and get sufficient social and financial stability to further invest in their social integration in the CZ
Are immigrants acquiring new skills?
Few working-age non-EU citizens are able to benefit from CZ education and training programmes, despite their importance for learning the CZ language and obtaining the specific skills/qualifications for its labour market. Only around 1 in 10 non-EU men and women said that they recently participated in education or training, according to 2011/2 Eurostat data. These levels were just as low in several countries in Central Europe (e.g. LT, PL) and Western Europe (e.g. FR, DE). No information was available on how many unemployed non-EU citizens are able to access unemployment benefits in CZ.
What other factors explain whether immigrants find skilled and well-paid jobs?
- One of highest and rising employment rates (≥70%) in Central Europe
- Slightly more rigid employment protection legislation than the OECD average
- The majority of recent migrants coming with temporary work or study permits in CZ, unlike other Central European countries
- Few could be exposed to CZ language prior to migration, but afterwards significant numbers have obtained a degree from CZ
Are immigrants employed in qualified and well-paid jobs?
Non-EU immigrants are a major benefit to the CZ economy, as over time both the high- and low-educated non-EU-born (with 10+ years' stay) are often more likely to work than their CZ counterparts with the same level of education or gender, according to 2011/2 data. Among the long-settled non-EU-born, low-educated men and women are around 1/3 more likely to be employed than the low-educated CZ-born, while high-educated women are 20% more likely to be employed than CZ women. Employment rates for high-educated men are nearly the same. Overall, the majority of long-settled non-EU-born are in employment, both high-educated (89% for men and women) and low-educated (51%, though lower for women than men).
However, non-EU immigrants do not always end up in the same quality jobs as their CZ counterparts. No data was available on low-educated workers' exposure to in-work poverty, meaning that their wage and benefits are too low to escape poverty. Whereas high-educated workers are 2.5 times more likely to work in jobs below the level of their qualification (around 1/3 for the long-settled non-EU-born and just 12% for CZ-born). These outcomes suggests that the CZ labour market and migration policy may get immigrants into jobs, but immigrants' jobs more often waste their skills and talents or, potentially, expose them to poverty.
Small but important numbers of non-EU newcomers separated from their families and reuniting in CZ under its average policy until 2013, when higher income requirements may start to keep vulnerable families apart
How many immigrants are potentially living in transnational couples?
Around 5% of non-EU citizen adults in CZ were not living with their spouse or partner and likely to be living in an internationally separated couple, according to very rough estimates from 2011/2. This number is similar to the average across Europe.
How easily can immigrants reunite with family?
Non-EU residents' legal opportunities to reunite used to be similar in the CZ to most European countries until 2013 amendments expected non-EU families to pay higher fees and have greater resources than the levels normally required of families in CZ (-5 points on family reunion since 2013). Now the requirements are more demanding than in 25 out of the 38 countries, on par with CY, DE, GR and SK.
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- CZ delays family's reunion and integration more than most countries, requiring sponsors to wait 15 months and first become a long-term or permanent resident
- In contrast, most countries allow most types of temporary residents with ≤1-year-permits (27 countries) to apply immediately (14) or after 1 year (10)
- Once eligible, non-EU residents can be reunited with their spouse or same-sex partner (as in 25 other countries), minor children and dependent adult children or parents (as in PT, SI, SE)
- Non-EU couples wait longer than other EU and CZ citizen adult couples (must be age 20), as in only 7 other countries
Dimension 2: Conditions
- Since 2013 amendments, non-EU sponsors cannot reunite with their family if their legal income comes from certain benefits, such unemployment, social assistance or child benefits (-20 points on conditions since 2013)
- The fees also increased by 250% from 2010 to 2014
- In contrast, sponsors in 22 countries (including all of CZ's neighbours) can use any legal source to prove a 'stable and sufficient' income based on the level of social assistance or minimum wage
Dimension 3: Security of status
- Families meeting the legal requirements can be slightly secure in their status in CZ, as on average across Europe
- The procedure can be long and discretionary in CZ, though a family's individual circumstances are supposed to be taken into account
- Still, they can lose their status on many grounds, including where their sponsor becomes unemployed
Dimension 4: Rights associated
- Families' opportunities to integrate are slightly favourable in CZ but more restricted than in other recent destinations in Western Europe (e.g. IT, PT, ES)
- Family members have the same right to work and study as their sponsor, as in 24 other countries
- They face delays to access social benefits and housing benefits in CZ, unlike in 23 other countries
- An autonomous status is possible but subject to delays and conditions (including for vulnerable groups, such as widows, survivors, divorced couples and weak for victims of domestic violence)
Are families reuniting?
9,325 non-EU family members reunited with a non-EU resident in CZ in 2013. Their number has been very stable in recent years, fluctuating between 8,000-10,000 and peaking in 2010 at 13,400. Most of these reuniting family members are children, accounting for 1/2 to 2/3. Spouses/partners make up around 1/4. Besides these, an increasing number are classified as other family members, between 2,500-2,750 in 2011-3. 2/3 of these reuniting family members come from the three of CZ's top origin countries: UA (around 1/3), VN (around 1/4) and RU (around 1/10).
What other factors explain whether immigrants reunite with family?
- Many newcomers recently settling down with family in Nordics and Southern Europe
- Most with the eligible or permanent permits to sponsor
- Family reunion more likely among families from countries that are low-to-medium developed, far-away and at war
How often do immigrants reunite with family?
Before the 2013 amendments, non-EU families were more likely to reunite in CZ than on average in Europe, with rates comparable to other recent destinations of labour migration. Out of every 100 non-EU residents in CZ, around 3 to 3.5 are newly arrived non-EU family members. This is slightly higher than average in Europe (2.2) but around average for Western Europe (3.1), as countries like IT, PT, ES also saw increases during the crisis in the numbers of former labour migrants settling down in Europe and reuniting with their families. These above-average family reunion rates are also rather equitable in the CZ, as the chances to reunite are generally similar for all types of nationalities (e.g. also equitable in IT and PT). The nationalities of these families suggest that family reunion is more common among certain categories of workers (KR, JP, IN, MN, US) and refugees (SY) than among immigrants from nearby CIS or Balkan countries.
2013's high income and fees may significantly limit the chances to reunite for non-EU families, especially for vulnerable groups, as these international comparisons suggest that restrictive requirements can significantly delay or deter both family's reunion and their integration in the country.
Education officials in CZ are starting to respond to the needs of its small number of immigrant pupils, many with limited CZ language proficiency, but schools are not yet used as a space for social integration
How many pupils have immigrant parents?
As a recent destination country, relatively few pupils in CZ are 1st or 2nd generation with immigrant parents. According to the 2012 PISA survey, foreign-born pupils account for just 1.9% of 15-year-old pupils, with another 1.4% born in CZ to immigrant parents. These 1st and 2nd generation pupils may be disadvantaged due to limited CZ proficiency as only 1/3 have parents speaking CZ at home.
Is the education system responsive to the needs of the children of immigrants?
Given its relatively small number of immigrant pupils, the CZ has taken more steps to start addressing their needs than do most recent destinations or Central European countries (also small but advanced in EE, KR, PT). This targeted education support ranks 19th out of the 38 but overall scores as slightly weak, especially on immigrants' access and new opportunities. Although not all immigrant pupils can access the full CZ education system, when they can, the modest targeted support available is better than in most Central European countries. This support has been expanded in recent years to all non-EU children, pre-school children and pupils disadvantaged by limited CZ language proficiency.
Dimension 1: Access
- Only compulsory education is available for all pupils arriving as children, regardless of status
- In contrast, 16 other countries extend equal access to vocational and/or higher education
Dimension 2: Targeting needs
- According to laws and decrees, CZ language courses should be needs-based, professionally taught, and regularly evaluated
- Since 2011, non-EU children should benefit from the same free adaptation support in CZ basic schools that other children enjoy
- Pupils disadvantaged by limited CZ proficiency are now defined as socially disadvantaged and thus potentially entitled to targeted support (e.g. teaching assistant, advice centres, individual education plans)
- An increasing number of pre-school-age children with limited CZ proficiency should benefit from extracurricular language teaching, based on the Education Ministry's 2014 plans
- More pre- and in-service trainings on intercultural competence are also planned through ad hoc projects but not yet a systematic programme or set of requirements
Dimension 3: New opportunities
- CZ, like most countries, has yet to use schools as spaces for social integration
- Mother tongue and cultures should somehow be available, at least for EU citizens and long-term residents
- The potential school segregation of migrant pupils is not yet monitored and addressed in policy
- Only ad hoc projects reach out to immigrant parents, teachers and communities
Dimension 4: Intercultural education
- Schools are required to teach multicultural education across the curriculum and get some state guidance, materials and, announced in 2014, more trainings
- Funding is provided for projects on cultural diversity (e.g. One World in School project)
What other factors explain whether the children of immigrants excel at school?
- Just 1/3 of 1st/2nd generation speak CZ at home
- Around 1/4 of foreign-born pupils arrive after age 12
- % of GDP spent on education is relatively low in CZ and across Central Europe
CZ starting to take the very 1st steps to make its health system equally responsive, accessible and inclusive for migrant patients
Is the health system responsive to immigrants' needs?
Health services and policies have started to take the 1st steps to become more responsive to migrants' specific health/access needs, with the CZ coming out slightly ahead of other Central European countries. These needs are greater for certain migrant categories and vulnerable groups, due to health, language and administrative reasons. In particular, immigrants' position in the private vs. public health insurance system and the links with their potentially precarious legal status and employment during the recent recession.
Click here to learn more about how MIPEX health was developed with IOM and EU’s COST/ADAPT network through ‘Equi-Health’ project and co-funded by European Commission’s DG SANTE.
Dimension 1: Entitlements
- CZ healthcare entitlements include most migrant patients but exclude important vulnerable groups
- The public health insurance system is open to legal migrants with permanent residence (i.e. 5+ years' stay) and to temporary residents with registered jobs in CZ
- Asylum-seekers enjoy the same coverage as CZ citizens and the State pays their premiums if they have no income
- Other legal migrants have to take out private health insurance cover on much less equitable terms (e.g. higher premiums or even exclusion for pre-existing conditions)
- Undocumented migrants must often pay their own costs, with access to private insurance available for only certain groups, like those recently losing their legal status
- The system leads to acute hardship for the most vulnerable groups (e.g. chronically ill migrants, children with major health problems after birth)
Dimension 2: Access policies
- Migrants can get basic information about their entitlements from Health Ministry's multimedia presentation in 5 languages (UA, RU, VN, EN, CZ), more advanced that in most Central European countries (see also RO)
- The CZ Medical Chamber Professional Code prohibits reporting of undocumented migrant patients and there are no sanctions against treating them (illegal residence is not criminalized)
- Cultural mediators are rarely available beyond ad hoc NGO projects and no specific health education and health promotion programmes target immigrants
Dimension 3: Responsive services
- CZ health professionals have started to take the very 1st steps to respond to migrant patients' specific health/access needs
- This limited response is similar to other Central European countries (e.g. RO, HU)
- Ad hoc trainings and collaborations with migrants are undertaken
- Rules on ‘informed consent’ oblige service providers to make available interpretation services of various kinds, but the Health Ministry and CZ Medical Chamber think that patients should pay
Dimension 4: Mechanisms for change
- Integration and health policies are responding only slowly to migrants’ health needs, though CZ has taken a few more steps than most in Central Europe (see also BG, RO)
- CZ Integration Concept (2013) explicitly states heath and healthcare objectives for the Health Ministry, though implementation measures and monitoring are needed
- “Foreigners' Departments” in large hospitals in migrant-rich areas focus on administrative/financial issues for migrants not covered by CZ public health insurance; still, these departments, migrant stakeholders and involved researchers could inform new strategies to make the system more inclusive, accessible and responsive
CZ integration policy is starting to respond to its many weaknesses on political participation, with still far to go on all dimensions like most Central European countries, especially to reduce its comparatively large number of disenfranchised non-EU adults
Who are disenfranchised from voting?
An estimated 225,000 non-EU adults (aged 15+) in CZ are disenfranchised in elections, according to 2014 Eurostat data. That's 2.6% of the total adult population in the CZ, the highest numbers and level of disenfranchisement in Central Europe outside of the Baltics.
Do immigrants have comparable rights and opportunities to participate in political life?
Since the last MIPEX, CZ integration policy has started to respond to the weaknesses identified in all dimensions of political participation. Non-EU citizens' opportunities to participate in public life were the 2nd least favourable of all countries (ahead of RO and similar to PL). National and local policies still have far to go to meaningfully promote political participation, especially to achieve effective voting rights and/or high naturalisation rates. The policies are still weak in CZ, now ranked 29th, alongside other low-scoring countries in Central Europe (see SI, IE, PT, ES). National, regional and local integration authorities and centres could build on these initial initiatives to build more democratic consultative bodies and dedicated funding for immigrant civil society to organise, meet community needs, and represent their interests.
Dimension 1: Electoral rights
- 'Reciprocal' voting rights for non-EU permanent residents since 2001 have been ineffective as the CZ government has not concluded any treaties (see greater efforts made in ES)
- In 2014, equal local voting rights for permanent residents were proposed by the Foreigners' Rights Committee but rejected by the Human Rights Council
- In contrast, non-EU nationals can stand as local candidates in 14 countries and vote locally in 21 (including EE, LT, SK, SI)
Dimension 2: Political liberties
- Non-EU immigrants are guaranteed some but not all of their basic political liberties (+50 in this dimensions)
- 2012 Civil Code clarified that the 3 people forming an association need not be CZ citizens
- Following 2014 Human Rights Council proposals, non-EU citizens may soon be able to become members of political parties, as in the vast majority of MIPEX countries
Dimension 3: Consultative bodies
- Integration authorities have started to open up their advisory bodies to immigrants themselves (+8 since 2012)
- Migrant Platform in the City of Prague, approved in 2011, is so far a weak ad hoc body with 30 appointed members and a civil society chair; the purpose is for immigrants to share their needs and opinions on Prague's integration policies
- In other regions and cities, immigrants are rarely consulted through structural advisory bodies (e.g. Mladá Boleslav's 2010 Commission for Integration of Ethnic Groups and National Minorities and Plzeň's Commission for Integration of Ethnic Minorities and Foreigners)
- Immigrant civil society is also not organised and consulted together at national level (see recent/planned openings in EE, LT MT, SI)
Dimension 4: Implementation policies
- Immigrant civil society may receive some more limited support to represent their interests (+10 on implementation policies)
- 2014's New Integration Strategy promises greater national funding under the initiative 'Foreigners Themselves'
- Immigrant civil society in Prague can already apply for some grants for mostly social/educational activities on integration
How many non-EU immigrants are eligible to vote?
0% of non-EU citizen adults can vote in local elections in CZ. In contrast, nearly all can in IE, the Nordics and the Benelux countries, while only a minority are enfranchised in countries with more restrictive voting rights (e.g. 14% in LT and 25% in HU). Given that only 1/3 of non-EU-born adults have become CZ citizens, the CZ will need to develop more effective voting rights or high naturalisation rates in order to avoid that immigration turns the country into an exclusionary democracy like AT, GR, IT, CH.
An estimated 80% of non-EU residents are settled 5+ years in CZ and 2/3 are now national or EU long-term residents with near-equal rights to boost their integration outcomes; While the 2009 CZ test should support immigrants to learn and succeed, the 2013 income requirement may become an obstacle for vulnerable groups in the labour market
Who can become long-term residents?
While CZ is a rather recent destination country, by 2011/2 already around 80% of non-EU citizen men and women had lived there the 5+ years needed to qualify for long-term or permanent residence. Most of Europe's 'new' countries of immigration now have long-settled non-EU populations (e.g. also GR, IE, IT, PT, ES).
How easily can immigrants become long-term residents?
Until recently, the path for temporary residents to become long-term/permanent residents in CZ was average for Europe. The procedure is only slightly discretionary for immigrants to gain or lose long-term/permanent residence, which guarantees them a more secure status and near-equal rights with CZ citizens. Temporary residents with 5+ years' legal residence, a legal income and basic CZ knowledge had proven that they are likely to settle long-term in CZ. Since 2010, the higher income requirements and fee may keep long-term residence out-of-reach of certain immigrant workers and families recovering from the effects of the economic crisis. Now the CZ path to long-term/permanent residence ranks 31st out of the 38 countries, on par with CH and UK and above only MT, IE, FR, CY and TU.
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- Most temporary residents have the right to become permanent residents after 5 years in CZ as in most EU countries (slightly sooner in HU and Nordics)
- To meet this 5-year-requirement, the time can count awaiting an asylum decision for humanitarian migrants and studying for former students; but since 2007, time working as a seasonal worker does not count
Dimension 2: Conditions
- Immigrants now face slightly restrictive requirements by CZ standards (-16 points in 2010), on par with AT and ranked 29th out of the 38 countries
- Under Act 427/2010, immigrants face a higher and more bureaucratic income requirement, with limited legal sources allowed to prove that applicants are covering their subsistence and housing costs (higher than in 26 countries)
- In contrast to the disproportionate income test, 2009’s A1-level CZ test, scoring 86, is one example of how the CZ and many countries can successfully demand and support most applicants to invest in their integration; the reasonable A1-level is supposed to come with exemptions for those with proven abilities or disabilities, free tests and free preparatory courses
Dimension 3: Security of status
- Immigrants face more discretionary procedures and grounds to become or lose permanent/long-term residents than on average in Central Europe, with CZ ranking 28th alongside LT, RO, SK
- Permanent/long-term residents obtain a permanent but insecure status that can be withdrawn on several vague grounds, without any explicit protections against expulsion
Dimension 4: Rights Associated
- Permanent residents can work, study and live in the country with the same social and economic rights, except for limits on public social housing
- No such gaps emerge in 30 other countries
How many immigrants are long-term residents?
CZ was home to 169,916 permanent/long-term residents in 2013, according to data reported to Eurostat. 93,036 had been given CZ permanent residents while 76,880 had EU long-term residents. UA, VN and RU citizens account for around 70% of national long-term residents and 80% of EU long-term residents in CZ.
What other factors explain whether immigrants become long-term residents?
- Most long-settled in CZ on eligible permits
- Most former labour migrants and now their families unlikely to return to their country of origin
- Main option to secure residence for long-settled residents and 2nd generation in countries with restrictive conditions to become citizens (CZ and other Central European countries)
How often do immigrants become long-term residents?
The majority (2/3) of non-EU citizens were either EU or national long-term/permanent residents in CZ in 2013. This level of long-term/permanent residence is similar to SK, SI and other major destinations (FR, IT, ES, SE, UK). The nationalities of permanent residents in CZ also generally reflect the non-EU population in CZ, as in Baltics, SI, IT, ES.
This level strongly reflects countries' path to permanent residence and citizenship. Countries like CZ that facilitate permanent residence but restrict naturalisation (as the 'second-class citizenship' alternative) end up with very high numbers of permanent resident foreigners (e.g. Baltics, Central Europe, IT, ES, except BG). In CZ, the large number of potentially eligible temporary residents may be less likely to become long-term residents over time if the new income requirement proves to be disproportionate given the country's future labour market and social conditions.
Access to Nationality
Restrictive liberalisation with uncertain impact: 2013 Nationality Act opens dual nationality for immigrants meeting tougher requirements
Who can become a citizen?
Around half of the non-EU citizens in the CZ have lived there for 10+ years and thus qualify for CZ citizenship, according to 2011/2 estimates.
How easily can immigrants become citizens?
The 186/2013 Nationality Act slightly improved immigrants' access to nationality, bringing the CZ up 9 points to the EU average. More immigrants and their children can become CZ citizens and now dual nationals, but only if they meet more restrictive conditions than on average in MIPEX countries or in Central Europe. The Act removed one major obstacle to naturalisation by embracing dual nationality — and replaced it with several new obstacles for applicants. The CZ chose to follow reform trends on dual nationality and entitlements for children, but also to adopt the most restrictive international practices on language tests, citizenship tests and income requirements.
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- Young adults (18-21) living there since age 10 can now become citizens through a rights-based "declaration" procedure, following international trends (e.g. IT, NL, for more flexible options, see FR, NO, SE)
- Eligibility remains slightly unfavourable for non-EU adults (5 years' permanent residence or 10 years' total, with exemptions for refugees/stateless) and slightly below the international average (7 years' total and shorter for spouses of nationals)
Dimension 2: Conditions
- The 2014 Act's conditions are more restrictive than in most countries and slightly unfavourable for integration
- Immigrants do not have enough courses and materials to pass the high B1-level fluency and new citizenship test, although at least the CZ-educated, elderly and disabled are exempt
- Applicants must pay for these new tests and also be independent of government benefits
- Half of the MIPEX countries do not impose such integration, income, and high language requirements
Dimension 3: Security of status
- The procedure itself is slightly more favourable in CZ than in other Central European countries
- Although applicants who meet the legal conditions can still be rejected on vague grounds, the procedure should be relatively short (6 months) and subject to judicial review
- Moreover, new citizens are as secure in their status as CZ citizens, except, since 2013, if they committed fraud to acquire it
Dimension 4: Dual nationality
- The Act's major improvement was the removal of the renunciation requirement, in place since the breakup of Czechoslovakia
- Now immigrants in the CZ can become dual nationals, as they can in 24 other MIPEX countries, including neighbouring HU, SK and PL
The Nationality Act No. 186/2013 aimed to bring citizenship laws into one act and up-to-date with the CZ's new reality after the breakup of Czechoslovakia and its recent transition to a country of migration. The Act removed special provisions for former Czechoslovak citizens as well as the requirement to renounce any foreign nationality. The Act also extended the declaration procedure to young permanent residents. In exchange, the discretionary language interview was replaced by a strict B1 CZ language test, a citizenship test (on civic knowledge, history, geography, culture, etc.), strengthened the criminal record requirement and introduced a three-year-long period for good character, proof of legal income and no dependence on welfare benefits. Processing times were also extended from 90 to 180 days.
How many immigrants are becoming citizens?
Before passage of the 2013 Act, the number of naturalisations remained relatively low and stable. Only 1,249 non-EU citizens were naturalised in 2012 and the overall numbers generally remained around 1,000-2,000 over the past decade.
What other factors explain why non-EU immigrants become citizens?
- Growing number of long-settled immigrants and second generation
- Most from medium developed countries
- 2/3 from origin countries allowing dual nationality
How often do immigrants become citizens?
By 2011/2, only an estimated one in three non-EU-born adults in the CZ, one of the lowest levels in Europe. In 2012, the country also had the lowest naturalisation rate for non-EU citizens in Europe (0.5), far below the EU average (3.4). Naturalisation rates were also highly inequitable in the CZ, with much higher rates for women than men, for adults than minors and for refugee-producing countries than other nationalities. Citizenship policies are generally the strongest factor determining the naturalisation outcomes of non-EU immigrant men and women from developing countries. It is unclear to what extent the growing number of long-settled immigrants in the CZ will be encouraged by the Act's new eligibility and dual nationality rules or discouraged by its tougher requirements.
Most people experiencing racial, ethnic or religious discrimination in CZ do not report it the authorities: 2009 Anti-Discrimination Law is one of the youngest in Europe, with weaknesses in key areas, while victims wanting to use the law receive less help than in most countries from equality NGOs, the weak equality body, and absent equality policies
Who said they experienced racial/ethnic or religious discrimination last year?
Discrimination exists in CZ as it does across Europe. For example, 3% of people in the CZ felt that they had previously been discriminated against or harassed based on their ethnic origin (2.3%) and/or religion/beliefs (0.8%), according to comparable 2012 Eurobarometer data.
Is everyone effectively protected from racial/ethnic, religious, and nationality discrimination in all areas of life?
With passage of the Anti-Discrimination Law (Law No. 198/2009), CZ residents were one of the last in Europe to get the dedicated anti-discrimination measures promised under EU law, which doubled CZ's score from 24-to-48. The President had vetoed the previous proposal in 2008 because, in his opinion, it dealt with issues already covered by existing constitutional provisions and would be ‘unnecessary, counterproductive and bad’ for private relations if adopted. Since lawmakers took a minimum standard approach to comply with EU law, CZ residents continue to have some of the weakest protection against discrimination in Europe, ranked 31st ahead of only the Baltics, CH, JP, IS and TU. Not only are victims confronted with a young law still weak in a few areas, but also they can receive less help in CZ than in most countries from equality NGOs, its weak equality body, and almost non-existent state equality policies.
Dimension 1: Definitions
- The 2009 law created basic definitions of discrimination, with similar weaknesses as in many European countries
- All CZ residents are now protected against unequal treatment in all main areas of life, whether on grounds of ethnicity or race
- Non-EU citizens face weak protections against nationality discrimination, which is more understood in CZ as national origin than citizenship
- Gaps also emerge on multiple discrimination and racial profiling (see e.g. DE, UK)
Dimension 2: Fields of application
- Residents in CZ and 29 other countries can bring forward cases of racial, ethnic and religious discrimination in all areas of life
- CZ took the 'minimum' horizontal approach currently under negotiation at EU level since 2007
- Non-EU citizens could benefit from clear prohibitions of nationality discrimination in all areas of life, as in 16 countries, including several in Central Europe
Dimension 3: Enforcement mechanisms
- Since 2009, CZ has just started to build the experience and capacity to deliver the promised mechanisms to enforce the law
- All potential victims should see their rights better enforced through specific protection against victimisation, access to free legal aid and interpreters, as well as a wide range of sanctions
- Equality NGOs could have stronger legal standing to intervene both in support and on behalf of victims (16), in particular to lead class actions or actio popularis (21)
Dimension 4: Equality policies
- The public is not encouraged to use the law or fight discrimination more broadly in society, with CZ's equality policies ranked 33rd, above only IS, IT, JP, TU
- CZ created one of the weakest equality bodies and no state commitments to promote equality through its work
- Victims cannot receive much help from the Public Defender of Rights, created in 2009 with limited financial capacities and in particular, with weaker powers than bodies in 32 out of the 38 countries (see BG, HU, RO, BE, FI, FR, NL, SE, UK)
- Victims can receive legal advice about their case, but the body cannot pursue claims for victims in court (see 8), or its own proceedings and investigations (see 16)
- Alternative dispute procedures (see 15 other countries) would help victims who prefer to solve the problem through alternative means, with court as only the last resort
- Neither can the CZ public benefit from any state initiative to promote racial, ethnic and religious discrimination through information, social dialogue, positive actions or state duties
How many racial/ethnic and religious discrimination complaints were made to equality bodies?
44 complaints of unequal treatment reached the Public Defender of Rights in 2013, with 41 on race/ethnicity and 3 on religion. According to Ministry of Justice data, CZ civil courts reached final conclusive decisions in 10 discrimination cases in 2013 and 4 in 2012.
What other factors explain whether potential victims report discrimination cases
- 36% of CZ general public know their rights as discrimination victims (similar to others in Central and Southern Europe)
- Low levels of trust in police and justice system in Central Europe
- Most arriving since 2000s and not yet naturalised, thus less likely to report discrimination incidents
How many complaints were made last year for every person who said they experienced racial/ethnic and religious discrimination?
Non-reporting is still the norm in Europe, especially Central Europe, and an even greater problem in CZ. Based on the 2012 estimates of potential victims, it seems that only 1 complaint reaches the Public Defender of Rights for every 6,000+ people in CZ potentially experiencing racial, ethnic or religious discrimination. Such low levels of complaints were also identified in other Central and Southeastern European countries with new and poorly supported anti-discrimination laws and bodies. CZ, like many European countries, has not even taken the first steps to properly inform potential victims and resource its anti-discrimination law and equality body.
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