Applicants For Permanent Residence Must Pay For Czech Language Exams From Next Year
The end of the vouchers for the language exam is related to the increased demand. Credit: Freepik.
Prague, Aug 31 (CTK) – Foreigners applying for permanent residence in the Czech Republic will have to pay for the required Czech language exam as of next year, based on an amendment to the government regulation approved by the cabinet yesterday, Agriculture Minister Marek Vyborny (KDU-CSL) told CTK.
Consequently, the Czech Interior Ministry will stop issuing and reimbursing vouchers for the Czech language exam. At the same time, the maximum price limit for this exam will increase from CZK 2,500 to CZK 3,200 from January 2024.
On the other hand, foreign doctors, dentists and pharmacists will no longer have to take the Czech language exam. Their language proficiency will be proven through the approbation exam they must pass to practise their medical profession, under the amendment to the regulation on proving the residence seekers’ proficiency.
According to its proponents, the end of the vouchers for the language exam is related to the increased demand caused by the influx of refugees from Ukraine, as well as the high interest in the exam from applicants who came to the Czech Republic under the scheme for highly qualified employees, the first of whom are now eligible to apply for permanent residence following the launch of the scheme seven years ago.
The Interior Ministry estimates that the number of applications for permanent residence in the Czech Republic will reach 30,000 this year, while in 2020, about 2,500 applicants took the language exam.
The state’s annual expenditure on Czech language exam vouchers amounts to almost CZK 20 million if there is a high demand.
In addition to the existing lower-level Czech language exam, applicants may also prove their knowledge of Czech via the citizenship exam in Czech language and basic facts on life and institutions in the Czech Republic, or the special exam recognizing professional competence to practise as a doctor, dentist and pharmacist.
The amendment will simplify the administration and access for doctors from abroad to the Czech healthcare system, the amendment authors point out.
“If foreigners passed one of those exams, they proved a higher level of knowledge than that required to prove permanent residence. It is therefore logical to recognize the exams in question as equivalent to the one in the Czech language for the purpose of permanent residence,” they state.
Foreigners can apply for a permanent residence permit, which guarantees free access to the labour market and welfare system, after five years of living in the Czech Republic or with a blue card. To apply, they must prove that they have passed a Czech language exam at A2 level or above.
At asylum centres, they can currently obtain a voucher for the costs to be reimbursed to them now, for which the Interior Ministry pays CZK 2,500 per test. The support was meant to motivate the foreigners to master the language smoothly. If unsuccessful, the applicants pay for repeated exams themselves.
Children under 15, people over 60, the disabled, and those who have attended Czech schools for at least a year, have a secondary school diploma in Czech or a state exam in Czech do not have to take the two-hour test.