As of 1 January 2011, an extensive amendment to the Czech Aliens Law, significantly tightening up the conditions for residence of foreigners in the Czech Republic, entered into force. Consequently, many migrants living in the Czech Republic risk falling much easier into illegality due to the new restrictive regime.
PICUM Member Association for Integration and Migration (AIM) strongly contests the adopted changes and has been actively involved in the legislative procedure since its beginning in autumn 2010. Particularly, in October 2010, SIMI organized (in cooperation with major audit company Deloitte Advisory) a press conference tackling the controversial character of the amendment and Czech NGOs working in the migration field elaborated common objections to the proposition of the new Aliens Law. In addition, open letters were sent to the members of the Czech Parliament (both, Chamber of Deputies and Senate).
NGOs were mostly concerned about the following issues:
- Prolongation of the maximum period for detention of migrants from 6 months up to 18 months as permitted by the Return Directive;
- Extreme complication of the residence permit prolongation procedure, concretely by requiring multiple presence in person of foreigners during the procedure and by increasing the administrative fees;
- New obligation of foreigners to possess the commercial healthcare insurance covering „complex healthcare“, which leads to the financial inaccessibility of the health insurance to the majority of migrants;
- “State interest” included as the new reason for non-prolongation or abrogation of the residence permit;
- Indequate implementation of the Sanction Directive (several articles of the Directive were not transposed into the Czech legislation)
Following the unsatisfactory results of the latest legislative evolution in the migration field, AIM and its partners in the project “Regularization of irregular migration“, funded by the European Social Fund, continue on influencing the upcoming implementation of the Sanction Directive and the preparatory works of a new Aliens Law.