CZECH REPUBLIC – Major New Immigration Law Includes New EU Intra-Company Transfer Card
Effective 15 August 2017, a significant legislative amendment makes extensive changes to Czech immigration law.
Act 222/2017 amends Act 326/1999, and includes changes to the rules on employee cards, residence permits and long-term visas. The various ministries have not yet published details of how they will implement the new rules, and the changes could initially cause delays and confusion.
Perhaps the most significant change is a new residence permit for intra-company transferees, which transposes the European Union intra company transfer (ICT) directive (2014/66/EU).
New EU ICT Permit vs Existing Czech ICT Permit
The amendments to the immigration laws transpose European Union Directive 2014/66/EU “on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer”, introducing a new EU ICT permit combining work and residence.
The existing Czech route for non-EU national intra-corporate transferees is a non-dual employee card requiring a separate work permit. Each route has advantages and disadvantages.
Under the new EU scheme, non-EU national managers and specialists can obtain an ICT work and residence permit valid for up to three years (up to one year for trainees). The EU ICT permit is non-renewable and a “cooling-off period” may be required after it has expired before a new application is allowed. The assignee needs to have been employed by the sending company for at least six months, prior to the assignment.
The existing Czech ICT permit does not require the applicant to be a manager, specialist or trainee, and is valid for up to two years initially, in line with the work permit, but is renewable indefinitely. There is no minimum requirement for seniority at the sending company.
The most innovative and attractive provision of the EU ICT Directive is intra-EU mobility, (this is not available with the existing Czech ICT permit).
This means that:
A holder of an ICT permit issued in the Czech Republic will be able to work in another EU member state for a company of the same group, for up to 90 days in a 180-day period, without obtaining a separate permit in that country, although a registration procedure may be required. For stays of more than 90 days, a “mobile ICT permit” for that country may be required. A holder of an ICT permit issued in another EU member state will be able to work at a company of the same group in the Czech Republic for up to 90 days based only on a labour office registration without obtaining a separate work permit. For stays of more than 90 days, a Czech ICT permit will be required.
The new EU ICT permit is a combined work and residence permit, and should be processed in 60-90 days.
The existing ICT permit has a similar processing time but requires a separate work permit which should take an additional 30 days, but is currently taking 60-80 days at the labour office in Prague.
Directive 2014/66/EU of 15 May 2014 “on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer” aims to create a consistent EU-wide system for non-EU nationals sent on assignment within a group of companies to EU Member States.
Please see our previous alerts on the transposition of the EU ICT Directive in Slovakia, Italy, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Spain.
Employers of non-EU nationals assigned to work at a related company in the Czech Republic should consult an immigration expert for advice about the most appropriate route.