On 21 June 2021, the Integration Center Prague (ICP), a non-profit organization, launches Adaptation and Integration Courses for foreign nationals. As of the 1st of January 2021, the courses are compulsory for selected groups of immigrants from countries outside the EU who have acquired a long-term residence or a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic since the above date (or will acquire it from now on) pursuant to Sections 66 and 67 of the Residence Act. ICP is one of eighteen Centers for Support of Integration of Foreign Nationals and organize these integration seminars in the Czech Republic. Adaptation and Integration Courses are the result of the successful project Welcome to the Czech Republic, which has been implemented since 2012 by the non-governmental non-profit organization Slovo 21 in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic.
What are the first steps to take after arriving to the Czech Republic? Where to find the right information about residence and employment? How do the Czech education and healthcare work? Participants in the Adaptation and Integration Courses will learn this and other information regarding functioning of the Czech society and the obligations and rights of immigrants. The courses aim to help foreigners to orient themselves in the new environment and administrative matters, so that they can, among other things, more easily deal with their affairs with the Czech authorities.
“In my opinion, these courses represent a significant systemic change in the Czech integration policy, because they will help foreigners to get a better idea about their stay in the Czech Republic and the associated duties. This way, they will be able to avoid possible mistakes or difficulties, which will make life easier not only for them, but ultimately for the authorities and society as a whole,” explains the course coordinator Branislav Makúch.
The course participants will also receive information about important institutions, especially about the services of the Centers for Support of Integration of Foreign Nationals and other non-profit organizations, which can help them with various tasks free of charge. For this reason, ICP has prepared a small brochure for course participants with the most important links and regional contacts. In addition to the main informative portal, vitejtevcr.cz, the website aik.icpraha.com presents basic information about the courses and instructions on how to register for them.
The courses are intended for the majority of third-country nationals whose long-term or permanent residence permit came into force after 1 January 2021. This new obligation does not apply, for example, to European Union citizens and their family members holding a temporary residence permit or to foreigners residing in Czech Republic on the basis of a visa. Another exception are foreigners who reside in the Czech Republic on the basis of a long-term stay for the purpose of study or investment or internally transferred employees. Moreover, the course does not have to be completed by foreigners who have not reached the age of 15 or are older than 61 years. Further exceptions to the obligation are listed on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.
Adaptation and Integration Courses last 4 hours. They are led by certified lecturers in Czech and interpreters translate the content into English, Arabic, French, Mongolian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. The course fee, which is paid by individual participants, is 1,500 CZK. After completion of the course, each participant will be issued a certificate confirming the fulfilment of his or her obligation. The deadline for completing the course is 1 year from handover of the residence permit certificate. If a foreigner does not attend the course within this period, he or she faces a fine in the amount of up to 10,000 CZK. Integration Center Prague o.p.s. is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 by the City of Prague. The purpose of the organization is to support the integration of foreigners from countries outside the EU. In addition to the Adaptation and Integration Courses, ICP provides free legal and social counselling, Czech language courses, and services of interpreting and accompaniment to public institutions. Last but not least, it organizes cultural and community events.
Mgr. Dagmar Diroian