Applications For Temporary Residence Increase By 18% Due To Pandemic Restrictions

The pandemic sparked an increase in applications by foreigners for temporary residence in the Czech Republic, as residence documents were required to enter the country. The number of applications increased by 18% year-on-year. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Foreigners (Cropped).

Czech Rep., Apr 29 (BD) – At the beginning of the anti-epidemic measures in the Czech Republic, a French woman returning home to Prague from a vacation abroad was barred from entering the Czech Republic without a certificate of temporary or permanent residence.

This was not an isolated case. A Polish man returning to his homeland via the Czech Republic was detained at Prague Airport for two days because he did not have a residence certificate.

Legally, citizens of the European Union do not need a residence permit to live, work and study in the Czech Republic. However, since state borders were closed due to the anti-epidemic measures, a certificate of temporary or permanent residence has been required to cross the border and enter the country. This situation has prompted many EU citizens to request certificates proving their residence status in the country.

“Since last March, we have seen an increase in demand for temporary residence permits. Since foreigners were not allowed to enter the country, the vast majority of those who applied already resided in the Czech Republic,” said Adam Lasota, director of branches of the Foreigners agency, which provides comprehensive services for expats in the country.

The Czech Interior Ministry’s Department of Asylum and Migration Policy (OAMP) has also recorded an increase in applications for temporary residence in the Czech Republic.

“In 2019, 16,462 citizens of other EU member states applied for certificates of temporary residence in the Czech Republic, and 7,533 for permanent residence permits. In 2020, 19,438 citizens of other EU Member States applied for temporary residence permits and 7,314 for permanent ones. The number of applicants for temporary residence thus increased by 18% year-on-year,” said OAMP.

The most applications in 2020 came from Slovaks, who submitted 8,178 requests for residence permits, followed by citizens of Romania and Hungary.

Confirmation of temporary or permanent residence is advantageous for EU citizens not only when returning from travel, but also when bringing their partners from third countries to the Czech Republic. Family members first need to apply for Schengen visas for family purposes at the relevant embassy, ​​and then, once arrived in the Czech Republic, for a temporary residence permit for family members of EU citizens.

The Ministry also confirmed that protective measures in the fight against coronavirus played a key role in the decision of foreigners to obtain residence permits.

“The practical need to prove when crossing state borders that a citizen of another EU member state has a temporary or permanent residence in the Czech Republic, and is therefore exempt from the ban on entry into the Czech Republic, which applied for some time, increased the number of applications for temporary residence. The need to reunite these EU citizens with their family members who are third-country-nationals and were not yet resident in the Czech Republic could also play a role,” said Hana Malá, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Interior.

The increase in “paper-recorded” foreigners not only benefits the holders of residence permits themselves but also the country.

“The Czech Republic is thus gaining a better overview of citizens of other EU Member States residing long-term in our territory, which is useful for many practical reasons. Foreigners always influence the living conditions in their place of residence and use all the local infrastructure – accommodation, transport, medical, educational – which they share with the local population. It is necessary to work with this reality when carrying out public administration,” added Malá.

The conditions imposed by the coronavirus thus showed that many foreigners plan to stay in the Czech Republic and decided to “strengthen” their connection with the country, so they can return at any time without fear and unnecessary complications.

“Many foreign companies have been here for a long time, employing qualified people and thus creating promising jobs for the Czechs,” noted Vojtěch Stehno, CEO of Foreigners.

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