Czech Republic – COVID-19: Rules for Employing Foreigners Changed
Czech Republic–Rules for Employing Foreigners Changed
The Czech Ministry of Health has added a protective measure regulating the entry of foreign nationals into the Czech Republic. The newest protective measure entered into effect on 3 August 2020, amends the approach to crossing borders by relaxing the testing requirement, changing the “traffic light” rules, and allowing easier reunification for partners.
In step with the epidemiologic situation both in the Czech Republic and worldwide, the Czech Ministry of Health continues to regularly update protective measures regulating the entry of foreign nationals into the Czech Republic. The newest protective measure entered into effect on 3 August 2020, amends the approach to crossing borders by relaxing the testing requirement, changing the “traffic light” rules, and allowing easier reunification for partners .1
WHY THIS MATTERS
The travel restrictions have had a considerable impact on travellers and employees moving between the Czech Republic and other countries. The loosening of the rules by allowing testing or quarantining upon entry, along with the updated “traffic light” rules, will be helpful for businesses and their employees who undertake cross-border travel for business purposes.
New Testing for Foreigners
Concerns regarding the reliability of certain foreign COVID-19 tests have led the Czech Ministry of Health to cancel the condition under which foreigners were only allowed to enter the Czech Republic with a certificate confirming a negative coronavirus test not older than four days. Under the new protective measure, foreigners do not have to be tested abroad but must either undergo a test after they arrive in the Czech Republic and deliver the test results to a regional public health office within 72 hours of crossing the Czech border or quarantine themselves.
Updated “Traffic Lights” Rules
Since 15 June 2020, the arrival of foreigners in the Czech Republic has been regulated by a “traffic lights” system for arrivals of foreigners in the Czech Republic. For prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2020-288, 19 June 2020. The current legislation simplifies the rules and expands the list of countries to include non-European countries. The traffic lights system no longer divides the countries into three categories for the risk of infection (red, orange and green) but now into the following two categories:2
- High-risk countries (red) – Czechs and foreign nationals who have spent time in these countries for at least 12 hours in the last 14 days must undergo a coronavirus test on their arrival in the Czech Republic. The existing rules remain in place -- third-country nationals arriving from high-risk countries may only enter the Czech Republic if they hold a residence permit (e.g. a long-term visa) or fit under an exception permitted by the protective measure.
- Low-risk countries (green) – Czechs and foreign nationals arriving in the Czech Republic from these countries do not have to undergo a coronavirus test. However, the updated rules introduced a special sub-category of countries falling under a stricter regime (currently: Belgium, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Malta and Spain). Foreign nationals from these countries may not commence their jobs without submitting a negative coronavirus test to their Czech employers.
A final crucial change facilitates the entry of third-country nationals who are partners to Czech and EU citizens and have been separated from them due to the coronavirus pandemic. Previous rules only allowed the arrivals of family members when the relationship with the foreign nationals was regarded as unambiguously supportable (primarily, spouses and children). Under the new rules, these foreigners will be allowed to enter the Czech Republic if their partners declare the existence of a mutual relationship and guarantee by affidavit to provide them with the accommodation and health care.
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the Czech Republic.
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