Despite Rising Anti-Immigrant Sentiments – Foreigners Seeking Residence GrowsČTK
Prague, Dec 2 (CTK) – Some 64,000 foreigners from countries outside the EU passed a Czech language exam, which is needed for gaining a Czech permanent stay permit, in the past nine years, according to a report Education Minister Stanislav Stech will submit to the cabinet on Wednesday.
The annual report assesses the effectivity of the country’s system of Czech courses and exams for foreigners.
It says one in two foreigners taking the exam were successful in recent years.
Since 2008, the exams have been coordinated by the National Institute for Education together with the Education Ministry and the Interior Ministry.
The Education Ministry has paid 1.65 million crowns for their organisation this year so far, and the Interior Ministry has contributed with 3.09 million.
The two ministries’ draft budgets for 2018 plan to spend 1.65 million and 10 million on this purpose next year, respectively.
The number of foreign applicants for a permanent residence permit has been rising recently. The passing of a Czech language exam is one of the conditions for permanent stay status to be granted to immigrants from outside the EU.
At present, the applicants must show Czech proficiency at the lowest A1 level, whose raising to A2 is being prepared. It is not yet clear from when the A2 level proficiency will be required.
The Czech exam consists of a written and an oral test. The first try is free of charge, with any further try costing 1,500 crowns.
Another condition for granting a residence permit is that the applicant lived in the Czech Republic for five years at least.
The conditions do not apply to EU citizens.
The strongest groups of applicants are Ukrainians, Vietnamese and Russians. A total of 36,789 Ukrainians, 10,884 Vietnamese and 5,878 Russians successfully passed the Czech language exam until April 30.
According to statistical data. the number of foreigners in the Czech Republic has almost doubled from 2004, reaching 493,000 at the end of 2016, including 272,000 with a permanent residence permit.
The strongest ethnic minority are Ukrainians (23 percent), followed by Slovaks, Vietnamese and Russians with 22, 12 and 8 percent, respectively.
According to demographers, the Czech Republic would become short of manpower and would start dying out without foreign immigrants.
In 2016, new anti-corruption and other measures took effect within the system of Czech courses and exams for foreigners.
Information about the exams is available on http://trvaly-pobyt.cestina-pro-cizince.cz/.