Wednesday, 26 July 2017

LN: Ukrainian expert invited by minister not granted Czech visa

ČTK |
4 January 2017

Prague, Jan 3 (CTK) - A Ukrainian businessman whom Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) invited to the Czech Republic to help Czech firms gain contracts in Ukraine was not granted a Czech visa, Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
It says this case reflects general problems of qualified foreigners from the third countries who want to work in the Czech Republic, but cannot get visas.
LN writes that Jurecka planned to establish the posts of "agro-consuls" in Ukraine and Kazakhstan in the spring as an equivalent of honorary consuls working with embassies. These consuls would be experienced local businesspeople, well-versed in the domestic environment, who could help Czech firms to gain orders.
Jurecka found a suitable person in Ukraine and invited him to the Techagro trade fair of farming equipment in Brno.
Though the Ukrainian businessman had an invitation from the minister as well as sufficient property and he bought an air ticket, he was not given the Czech visa since he was not able to say where in Brno he would stay a month before the event, LN says.
Jurecka had thereby first-hand experience of how complicated it is to get foreign workers from non-EU countries to the Czech Republic though the Czech economy urgently needs them.
"We must set up a faster and more indulgent visa system for some countries and professions," Jurecka told LN.
It writes that Czech farmers have long complained about the lack of workforce since most Czechs are not much willing to do hard work in agriculture. The situation in some industrial fields as well as in health care is similar, LN adds.
This is why the government approved a special programme of accelerated visa procedure for 5000 workers from Ukraine at the beginning of last year, but the actual demand for foreign workers was much higher, LN says.
Jurecka points out that the problem is caused by the Interior Ministry which is in charge of issuing residence permits for more than 90 days.
Representatives of the sectors that urgently need workforce from Ukraine, Mongolia and Vietnam have already met to debate the problem, LN adds.
The Interior Ministry defends its stance arguing that it must observe the valid regulations.
Foreigners from non-EU countries who seek long-term visas must meet three fundamental requirements. They must prove why they want to stay in the Czech Republic that they can cover their stay and where they will live. The Ukrainian businessman did not meet the last requirement, LN says.
However, this does not suffice sometimes as ministerial clerks assess some foreigners who want to work in the Czech Republic as a security risk only because of their country of origin.
This happened to the Braci Syrian-Jordanian research team, which was invited to the South Moravian Innovative Centre in Brno. It annually organises a support programme for potentially successful startups to which top foreign scientists are invited, LN says.
Developer Fritz Ekwoge Ekwoge from Cameroun, who has invented a safe and fast data transfer method without the Internet, had to seek visas at the Czech embassy in Nigeria and he was eventually granted them only after many politicians and managers of the South Moravia centre were "lobbying" for his arrival, LN writes.
Foreign researchers and academics have also faced problems with Czech visas.
Most recently, Czech universities offered jobs to Turkish scholars who were dismissed after the failed military coup in Turkey last year. But it took them months to arrange long-term Czech visas though they were persecuted in their home country, LN says.
hol/t/pv

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