Home » Questions and Answers » Arrival of a foreigner in the Czech Republic and conditions of obtaining legal work

Arrival of a foreigner in the Czech Republic and conditions of obtaining legal work

Home » Questions and Answers » Arrival of a foreigner in the Czech Republic and conditions of obtaining legal work

What is considered illegal work in the Czech Republic?

  1. Illegal work in the Czech Republic means dependent work performed by people outside the employment relationship, i.e. without an employment contract, an agreement to complete a job (hereinafter referred to as “ACJ”, an agreement to perform work (hereinafter referred to as “APW”). Furthermore, the following work is considered illegal: work performed by a foreigner in violation of or without an issued work permit, in conflict with an employee card, an internally transferred employee card or a blue card. It is also illegal work if the foreigner works and does not have a valid residence permit in the Czech Republic.

  2. The so-called Schwarz system is also considered illegal work. It is a matter of obscuring/covering an actual employment relationship by another contract (most often it is a contract of commercial representation, a mandate contract, a contract on mediation or a contract for the work done). The person then performs ordinary activities for the entrepreneur in the same way as his employees, acts vis-à-vis the entrepreneur in a subordinate position, but formally acts as an independent entrepreneur. Dependent work can be performed exclusively in a basic employment relationship.

What are the main advantages of legal work in the Czech Republic?

  1. If you are a legal employee and you meet certain conditions, you can take advantage of the associated benefits according to the type of your contract (employment contract, APW, ACJ). These are, for example, fixed working hours and rest periods, fixed maximum shift periods and entitlement to a meal break, fixed minimum wages, entitlement to leave/vacations, health insurance and entitlement to free health care or compensation for accidents at work and occupational diseases, social security and entitlement to state social support benefits, protection by notice period and severance pay, etc. Some of these benefits may also apply to employees performing illegal work, but are more difficult for employees to enforce.

  2. The existence of legal income also has a fundamental effect on the possibility of obtaining a permanent residence permit and subsequently also the citizenship of the Czech Republic. When deciding on the granting of Czech citizenship, it will be taken into account whether you are integrated into society, even in terms of working life. More information on granting citizenship and meeting the conditions can be found here: https://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/udeleni-statniho-obcanstvi-ceske-republiky.aspx.

How can a foreigner legally enter the territory of the Czech Republic?

A foreigner must have a valid residence permit, if required. Upon request, foreigners must also fill in and sign the border ticket upon entering the territory of the Czech Republic, enable the verification of their travel documents and their identity.

What do I have to do first after arriving in the Czech Republic?

After arriving in the Czech Republic, you must come to the Alien Police Office within 3 working days to report your place of residence in the territory. If you came on the basis of a visa in order to take over a residence permit (e.g. an employee card), you will arrive at the workplace of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic within this period with a valid travel document (link to the web: https://www.mvcr.cz/) for that they can process and acquire biometric data and signature for the purpose of issuing a long-term residence permit. Then you are invited to appear in person for the second time at the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic in order to take over the residence permit (residence card).

What documents do I have to have in order to be able to work legally in the Czech Republic? And if I get the relevant documents, what work can I do?

  1. In order for a foreigner to be legally employed in the Czech Republic, it is not enough just to obtain a residence permit. Therefore, it is always necessary to check whether I can work and if so, whether any restrictions apply to me (e.g. whether I can only work under pre-authorized conditions).

    For more information on free entry into the labour market, visit the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (https://www.mpsv.cz/volny-vstup-na-trh-prace). However, keep in mind that you must have a legal residence in the territory, even if you have free access to the labour market.

    After obtaining a permanent residence permit, you can work without further restrictions.

    In case of a longer stay in the territory and employment (before obtaining a permanent residence permit), the foreigner usually has one of the following residence permits:

    • Employee card

    • Blue card

    • Internally transferred employee card


      In the card of an internally transferred employee, the Ministry shall mark the entry "ICT" in the section type of permit, in the case of an internally transfered employee of another Member State of the European Union, the entry "mobile ICT" shall be marked.

    • A long-term residence permit, which is associated with the so-called free entry into the labour market

      In this case, in the biometric document of the foreigner, in the "Remarks" section, the text "Free access to the labour market - YES" is given after the two-digit code (XX), which indicates the purpose of the stay.

      In this case, in the biometric document of the foreigner, in the "Remarks" section, the text "Free access to the labour market - YES" is given after the two-digit code (XX), which indicates the purpose of the stay.

    • In some cases, a foreigner may be issued a so-called work permit by the regional branch of the Labour Office of the Czech Republic, which will allow them to work if they also have a valid residence permit (for example in the form of a visa for a stay of more than 90 days or a long-term residence permit).

    • As can be seen from the above examples, a long-term residence permit takes the form of a biometric card.


      The relevant type of residence is listed under the heading "Type of permit", for example: "LONG-TERM STAY / EMPLOYEE CARD / EU BLUE CARD / ICT / MOBILE ICT". In the "Remarks" section, a two-digit code (XX) is given to indicate the purpose of the stay. For long-term residence permits issued for purposes other than employment, the text "Free access to the labour market - YES / NO" follows.

      In the case of foreigners with only a visa for a stay of more than 90 days or a short-term visa for up to 90 days, the form of entry into the labour market is not indicated on the visa sticker. In most cases, these foreigners have to apply for a work permit because they do not have free access to the labour market, with a few exceptions.

  2. Depending on the type of residence permit and the form of entry into the labour market, you must also conclude a written employment contract, APW or ACJ.

    Attention! Some of the types of employment relationship may be inadmissible for the purposes of employment and residence of certain groups of foreigners!

    For example, a holder of a dual employment card (without free entry into the labour market) cannot conclude a ACJ and work on its basis; it is not possible to issue a work permit in relation to the ACJ, blue card holders can obtain this residence permit only on the basis of a concluded employment contract, etc.

    We therefore recommend that you always verify whether the performance of work is possible under Czech law.

  3. The conditions for the performance of work (type, place…) are specified in the employment contract or APW, which were documented when the residence permit was issued to the foreigner. In most cases, it is not possible to deviate from these conditions during employment (with the exception of the situation of free entry into the labour market). A change in the type, place of work or employer requires the consent of the Ministry of the Interior; in the case of a work permit, the issuance of a completely new work permit by the regional branch of the Labour Office. Changing the conditions of work without prior consent / permission is the performance of illegal work.

What is an employee card and what does it entitle me to?

  1. The employee card is a long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic for the purpose of employment. You will find the form of an employee card in the question "What documents do I need to have in order to be able to work legally in the Czech Republic?". The employer is obliged to notify the regional branch of the Labour Office about the job where the foreigner may be employed.

  2. The employee card exists in two basic types - dual and non-dual. A non-dual employment card means that the foreigner has either free entry to the labour market or an issued work permit.

  3. If a dual employee card has been issued for you, you are entitled to reside in the Czech Republic and at the same time work in the position for which the card was issued. If you want to adjust the conditions under which you’ve been working or change employers, you must notify the Ministry of the Interior of such a change and wait for the change to be approved.

  4. The employee card is issued for a maximum period of two years with the possibility of repeated extension.

  5. The employee card is intended for all types of employment, regardless of the degree of professional competence required.

  6. The main requirement for issuing an employee card is the conclusion of an employment contract or agreement to perform work (APW), where the set wage or remuneration is higher than the minimum wage and the weekly working time is at least 15 hours.

  7. An employee card cannot be issued in relation to ACJ.

What is a blue card and what does it entitle me to?

  1. The Blue Card is an authorization for long-term residence in the Czech Republic and for the performance of employment requiring high qualifications. You can find the form of a blue card in the question "What documents do I need to have in order to work legally in the Czech Republic?" You achieve a high qualification if you have duly completed a university degree or higher professional education that lasted at least 3 years.

  2. You are entitled to apply for a Blue Card provided that you intend to stay in the Czech Republic for more than three months. You must also have an employment contract for a highly qualified job for at least one year and meet other conditions, such as having a negotiated wage of at least 1.5 times the average gross annual wage. For the year 2021, your gross monthly salary must therefore be at least CZK 51,188. The employer is obliged to notify the regional branch of the Labour Office about the job where the foreigner may be employed.

  3. If a blue card has been issued for you, you are entitled to reside in the territory of the Czech Republic and at the same time work in the position for which the card was issued. If you want to adjust the conditions under which you have been working or change employers, you must apply to the Ministry of the Interior for approval of the change in the first two years and wait for the change to be approved. After two years, it is sufficient just to notify the change within 3 working days.

What is an internally transferred employee card and what does it entitle me to?

  1. An in-house employee card is a type of long-term residence permit in the Czech Republic, where the purpose of the stay is to perform work in the position of manager, specialist or trainee employee to which the foreigner has been transferred. You can find the form of the card of an internally transferred employee in the question "What documents do I have to have in order to be able to work legally in the Czech Republic?".

  2. The card is issued for the period of transfer to the territory of the Member States of the European Union, for a maximum of 3 years for a manager and a specialist, for a maximum of 1 year for a trainee employer. The validity can be extended repeatedly.

  3. A manager is a foreigner working in a leading position, who primarily manages a business corporation or a branch plant and whose activities are supervised or instructed by a statutory body, the highest body or a control body. The manager also supervises other employees and, for example, has the authority to hire or dismiss employees.

  4. A specialist is a foreigner who has specialized knowledge that is essential for the activities, procedures or management of a business corporation or a branch plant, and also has some qualifications and professional experience.

  5. A trainee employer is a foreigner who has duly completed university studies and is transferred to a business corporation or branch for the purpose of career development or training in business techniques and methods and is paid a salary or wage for the duration of the transfer.

What is a long-term residence permit and what does it entitle me to?

  1. You can use a long-term residence permit if you are staying in the Czech Republic on a visa for a stay of more than 90 days and you intend to stay in the territory temporarily for more than 1 year. In specified cases it is possible to ask for a long-term residence permit at the embassy of the Czech Republic, i.e. from the country of residence, not directly from the Czech Republic. According to the current legislation, long-term residence for the purpose of employment is not issued, for that purpose an employee card or a blue card is used. You will find the form of a long-term residence permit in the question "What documents do I need to have in order to be able to work legally in the Czech Republic?".

  2. You can obtain a long-term residence permit for various purposes, such as study, scientific research, job search or starting a business, entrepreneurship or investment.

  3. A long-term residence permit for the purpose of finding a job or starting a business activity is issued only for those foreigners who have held a long-term residence permit for the purpose of study or scientific research in connection with the successful completion of studies/scientific activities. This residence permit is issued for a period of nine months and cannot be extended.

What are the other options for entering the labour market?

  1. In the Czech Republic, you can continue to work, for example, on the basis of a short-term visa for employment, a short-stay visa for seasonal employment, a visa for a stay of more than 90 days for seasonal employment or an extraordinary work visa. In these cases, a work permit is also issued together with the visa and it determines at which workplace and under what conditions the work can be performed.

  2. Short-stay visas, generally referred to as "Schengen visas", allow their holder to stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. However, they may also be issued for a shorter period of time. These visas may also be issued for employment or seasonal employment. When the stay is exhausted, the Schengen area must be left. A short-term visa for the purpose of seasonal employment is intended for applicants who plan to perform short-term seasonal employment in the Czech Republic, for example in the field of forestry, hospitality, recreational activities and others.

  3. The issuance of short-stay visas falls within the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

However, these questions and answers do not address the above-mentioned possibilities of entering the labour market in more detail, as their purpose is focused on the long-term stay of foreigners in the Czech Republic.

What are an employment contract, an agreement to complete a job (ACJ) and an agreement to perform work (APW)? What must these types of contracts contain?

  1. Simply put, these are basically written contracts, on the basis of which you can perform work in the Czech Republic.

  2. The employment contract must contain: the type of work that the employee is to perform for the employer, the place or places of work and the date of commencement of work. The employment contract must be concluded in written form. The main advantage of an employment contract is greater protection of the employee (i.e. you) when terminating the employment relationship (protection through notice, severance pay, fixed salary, etc.).

  3. The ACJ is an agreement with a specified scope of work, which must not exceed 300 hours in a calendar year. The ACJ must be agreed in written form. The agreement must define the work task, the agreed remuneration for its execution, the scope of work and the time in which the work task is to be performed. At the same time, the period for which the work agreement is concluded must be indicated.

  4. The APW is an agreement in which it is possible to perform work in the range of up to 20 hours per week, but unlike ACJ, there is no set annual limit of 300 hours for one calendar year. The contract must be concluded in written form and must state the agreed work, the agreed scope of working hours, the amount of remuneration and the period for which the agreement is concluded.

Who can I contact in case I need help with handling documents for work in the Czech Republic? Am I entitled to an interpreter?

Assistance in communication with authorities and other institutions, including interpretation into a foreign language, which is free of charge for foreigners, can be found here: http://www.pracevceskerepublice.cz/index.php/jiny-jazyk-jina-kultura/

I entered the territory of the Czech Republic legally and started working without the necessary permits and authorizations. Am I an illegal worker? What do I have to do to legalize my work in this case?

Yes, if you work in the Czech Republic without a permit or authorization, you are an illegal worker. If you want to legalize your work, you must obtain one of the above permissions. Contact one of the organizations for the support of foreigners with a request for assistance (the list can be found here: http://www.pracevceskerepublice.cz/index.php/jiny-jazyk-jina-kultura/) or, if you are authorized to do so by law , immediately apply for the relevant authorization to the Ministry of the Interior, or the regional branch of the Labour Office (more information here: https://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/obcane-tretich-zemi-dlouhodoby-pobyt.aspx).

I live legally in the Czech Republic, but I cannot find a job legally, am I entitled to unemployment benefits in this case?

  1. Third-country citizens who, on the basis of their application, have been entered in the register of jobseekers kept by the employment office on the basis of their application after meeting the legal conditions are entitled to unemployment benefits. Only a foreigner from a third country who has a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic can be a job seeker.

  2. In the same way as a citizen of the Czech Republic, you are entitled to unemployment benefits if you have a permanent residence in the Czech Republic, you have also been employed or engaged in other gainful activities for at least 12 months before applying for unemployment benefits, you asked for unemployment benefits at Labour Office (link to the web: https://www.uradprace.cz/web/cz/krajske-pobocky), where you are on the list of job seekers, and you do not enjoy a retirement pension.