Moving abroad means that one has to face many new challenges especially when coming from a vastly different cultural background. The cultural differences are sometimes so significant that for many expats the cultural shock is too big to overcome.
To help foreigners to get used to living in the Czech Republic, the Czech Ministry of the Interior has introduced integration courses which will start taking place from January 2021.
What Exactly Are These Courses About?
Following the Act on the Residence of Foreigners, it was decided that from January 2021 some groups of expats living in the Czech Republic will have to undergo special integration courses. The new decree regarding these courses came into effect on December 11. The reason behind the original proposal of the Ministry of the Interior is the Ministry’s effort to prevent expats from socially isolating themselves from the Czech society, help them get used to a completely new foreign environment, and to acquaint them with their rights and obligations.
The main topics of these courses will be the general information about the Czech Republic, rights and obligations of foreigners, employment, business, health system, education system, and housing.
Other topics these courses should cover are also problem-solving, traditions, culture, domestic violence, gender equality, and so on. The courses will take four hours (within one day) and will be translated into nine languages: Arabic, English, French, Mongolian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
These integration courses are not a completely new thing and it is already possible to undergo them, however, they are currently only optional. From January 2021 these courses will be mandatory for some groups of expats.
Right now they are only available online due to the restrictions put into effect by the Czech government because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
It should also be mentioned that expats will have to, according to the new decree, pay for these courses themselves, despite them being mandatory. The price of the courses for the public is 1,500 CZK, while the price of those not intended for the public is 800 CZK.
Who Will Have to Undergo Them?
Despite the lack of specific information available, it is already known which groups of foreigners these courses will be mandatory for. They are intended for all newly arriving non-EU expats with a long-term or permanent residence permit who intend to live in the Czech Republic for over one year.
The only exception includes those foreigners who immigrate to the Czech Republic for the purpose of studies, investment, protection in the territory, those who hold a card of an internally transferred employee, or those expats whose permit has been issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This, however, applies only to those who will receive a residence permit in the Czech Republic after December 31, 2020. It is also necessary to remember that expats are required to undergo the course within one year of their arrival in the country. Right now it is expected that up to 25,000 people will attend these courses in 2021 alone.
Written by Foreigners – a relocation agency providing complex services for expats in the Czech Republic