The government’s economic migration programs aimed at the arrival of qualified employees from third countries to Czech companies have proved successful despite the global economic decline in relation to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Some of the migration programs brought in more qualified employees than in 2019.
Currently, Czech employers can use two visa support programs to facilitate the migration of highly qualified workers from abroad. That is in particular the Key and Research Staff Program, which brings computer scientist, engineers, developers, and other employees to key positions in companies based in the Czech Republic. While in 2019, an average of 90 employees per month was included in this program, in 2020 there were more than 130. The second economic migration program – the Highly Qualified Employee Program – performed similarly well in 2020. According to Karel Havlíček, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade, economic migration programs are at the moment the only way how can Czech companies secure qualified employees from third countries for long-term employment.
The Key and Research Staff Program facilitates an administratively easier and faster visa process for members of statutory bodies, managers, key specialists and their family members. The program is used by a number of organizational units of foreign companies, technology companies, research organizations and startups. From February 1, 2021, the entry of foreign employees of these companies into the Czech Republic is even easier. Moreover, startups can also apply for the Key and Research Staff Program by submitting a business plan that will be assessed in terms of uniqueness, degree of innovation of the technical solution, growth potential and economic benefits.
As of February 1, the Highly Qualified Employee Program was extended to include posted and internally transferred employees. Newly, this program can be used not only for an Employee card or Blue card but also for an Employee card in a non-dual mode (together with the decision of the Labour office on a work permit) and the Card of an Internally Transferred Employee.
Both government economic migration programs were launched in September 2019. Unfortunately, between March and August 2020, they were suspended due to pandemic, however, by 2021, all programs were fully operational, with set annual quotas for international highly skilled and key workers. The quotas are scheduled to increase again from March 2021. Based on the experience gained, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is currently working with other ministries to adjust programs aimed at highly qualified employees and intend to make the programs even more accessible to startups, in line with the Innovation Strategy.
The Highly Qualified Employee Program and the Key and Scientific Personnel Program are administered by the CzechInvest Agency together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Visa support is part of aftercare services for investors at CzechInvest. The agency’s employees consult mainly on the visa process in the Czech Republic and focus on the specific needs of investors throughout the process. These include solutions for long-term stays for top management and statutory representatives of companies or communication with state administration institutions regarding the visa process. More information can be found here.
Learn more about the economic migration programs: