Wednesday, 23 April 2014

LN: Mongolians to sue ČR over unaccessible work visa

24 May 2011

Prague, May 23 (CTK) - A group of 90 Mongolians is planning to jointly sue the Czech Republic over the closed access to work visas for selected foreigners with work permit, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes Monday, referring to Prague's quotas on foreign workforce admission.

For foreigners from countries such as Mongolia and Ukraine it is practically impossible to apply for Czech work visa because the VISAPOINT electronic system, designed for this purpose, does not let them submit their applications, LN writes.

The Mongolians have invested time and money to gain Czech work permits, a crucial condition for them to apply for work visas.

The granting of a work permit by Czech authorities means that the applicant can find a vacant job that Czechs are not interested in, LN writes.

This, however, showed to be of no use to the Mongolian job seekers. In view of the quotas regulating the number of admitted applications, the VISAPOINT e-gate prevented their applications from being assessed by the authorities, LN writes.

"I consider the fact that a foreigner cannot apply for visa discriminatory. We're preparing a lawsuit against the state," the paper quotes Frantisek Teply, from the Alphacon company which helps foreigners settle their visas.

Aware of the problem, the Foreign Ministry plans changes. "We want a more flexible system," ministry spokesman Vit Kolar told the paper.

"The reason why it is impossible [for the Mongolians and some other foreigners] to file their application [on VISAPOINT] are the government-approved quotas specifying how many workers from the third countries the Czech Republic can admit. The quotas have been filled now," Kolar said.

The government introduced the limits in 2009 due to the economic crisis' impact.

"In view of the unfavourable situation on the labour market, the restrictions remain valid," said Petra Schneiderova, from the Interior Ministry's press department.

Lawyers say the foreigners have a chance of winning the pending court dispute.

"The state's failure to let a foreigner submit his/her application is at variance with the principles of democratic law-abiding state," says lawyer Pavel Cizinsky.

Under a previous court ruling, the prevention of foreigners' applications is not quite a legitimate way to regulate migration, Cizinsky said.

"The applicants cannot undergo the decisive procedure. This amounts to discrimination," says lawyer Oksana Rizak.

The situation has also been criticised by NGOs. They say the VISAPOINT system, introduced to do away with corruption, has had just the opposite effect.

"The current system encourages to hiring intermediaries whom it was originally to oust. The applicants either give their effort up, or they hire intermediaries to make repeated tries for them," says Pavla Redlova, from the People in Need humanitarian organisation.

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