Non-EEA national employees seconded to work in the Czech Republic from outside the EEA can no longer apply for a C (short-term) visa for the purpose of employment simultaneously with their consular Employee Card (residence card) application. This restriction will come into effect immediately and means that seconded employees cannot travel to the Czech Republic to start work until their Employee Card has been approved, which may take several months.
The Employee Card is a residence card for foreign nationals employed in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days, issued by a Czech consulate for a stay of up to two years, and renewable. Application processing usually takes two to three months. Once the Employee Card application is approved, the applicant will be issued a D (long-term) visa for the purposes of travelling to the Czech Republic to collect the Employee Card.
For those locally hired in the Czech Republic, the Employee Card acts as a dual work and residence permit. However, in the case of employees seconded to work in the Czech Republic from outside the EEA, a valid work permit must first be obtained from the Czech Labour Office and submitted in support of the non-dual Employee Card application.
For those seconded to work in the Czech Republic from within the EEA, a work permit is not required, but proof of labour office registration must be submitted in support of the non-dual Employee Card application.
An application for a C (short-term) visa for the purpose of employment for up to 90 days is usually processed within two weeks, and must also be supported by a work permit.
Until recently it has been common for employees seconded to work in the Czech Republic, and needing to start work quickly, to apply for a C visa simultaneously with their Employee Card application, using the same long-term work permit or labour office registration in support of both applications. In this way, they were able to enter and start work in the Czech Republic using the C visa before the Employee card was approved.
Now, however, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has issued guidelines stipulating that the C visa for employment can only be issued for applicants intending to stay for a maximum of 90 days. C Visa applicants must submit a short-term work permit and evidence that they intend to exit the country within 90 days.
This new policy, therefore, prevents seconded employees from using their long-term work permit or labour office registration to apply for a C visa. MOFA states that this stricter regulation is being implemented to reduce the workload of the Czech consulates caused by processing parallel applications.
In practice, not all Czech consulates accepted dual applications based on one work permit even before this new guideline came into force. At the moment it is not clear how the Czech consulates will implement the new regulations.
Employers of non-EEA foreign nationals seconded to work in the Czech Republic from outside the EEA for more than 90 days should take into account the new short-term visa restrictions when planning the start date of the assignment.
All Employee Card application requirements should be checked with the consulate of the application on a case-by-case basis.
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