Prague, 16th March, 2012 – Consortium of non-governmental organizations working with migrants in the Czech Republic welcomes the latest modifications of the direction of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs dated 25th January 2012. Its aim was to cease the working permit granting process in relation to non-EU nationals. However, according to today’s press release from the Ministry, the authorities have realized possible negative economic impacts of non-granting new work permits for less qualified positions. According to the Consortium which groups eight migration, non-governmental organizations, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs does not have any other legal possibility than to consider every single work permit application individually.
According to lawyers of non-governmental organizations, the original directive was in a sharp contrast to the December decision of the Highest administrative court which stated that flat refusal of work permit with respect to general labour market situation is not lawful: “In case the law does not clearly state the situation on the labour market as one of the conditions for possible refusal of work permit application, it is not possible to decide otherwise, even despite legal certainty of other participators of labour relations. The Highest administrative court therefore concludes that in case a working position for which a foreigner is applying was registered in accordance to lawful conditions and it is not possible to fill it otherwise with respect to requested qualifications or lack of workforce, the job centre will issue work permit.” Job centres and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs would face lawsuit from work permit applicants and employers if they did not respect this law interpretation.
The rather quick modification of the Ministry’s directive aimed at job centres does imply its meagre thoughtfulness. “A responsible execution of state administration should not be based upon issuing directive that only put migrants and employers into uncertainties, and change quickly after it has turned out they do not correspond to the reality”, says Pavel Čižinský from Multicultural centre Prague. “The directive is neither based on a profound analysis of migrants’ role on the Czech job market, nor the impacts of previous measures since the beginning of the economic crisis in the autumn of 2008. It is based upon the equation: let’s force migrants out of our labour market and force local unemployed to fill their posts. However, this is not how the globalised labour market operates both in the Czech Republic and the European Union,” argues Marek Čaněk, Consortium’s policy officer. Last few years’ experience does imply that non-EU workers are partially substituted by workers who are citizens of EU member states.
Apart from employers’ interests, which is emphasised in the Ministry’s press release, it is significant that migrants’ interests are also emphasised, since many of them have been living in the Czech Republic for many years and their families are here with them. The Consortium welcomes that the Ministry of labour and Social Affairs has realized the bureaucratic and time-demanding nostrification of migrants’ qualifications, however, it does not see any reasons for keeping the automatic nostrification request as the Ministry’s press release suggests.
Contact for the media: Marek Čaněk, Consortium of non-governmental organizations working with migrants in the Czech Republic, tel. 776 00 36 35, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pavel Čižinský, Multicultural centre Prague, tel. 776 88 27 74