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Czech police on alert over lifting of visas for Ukrainians

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Prague, June 9 (CTK) – Czech security forces are on alert over the migration and security risks to arise from the forthcoming partial lifting of visas for Ukrainians that take effect on June 11, daily Pravo wrote on Friday, referring to a meeting of the National Security Council in early May.

The liberalisation of the visas for Ukrainians valid for the Schengen Area relates to the trips for business, tourism and family reasons lasting for up to 90 days, but not to journeys over work, Pravo writes.

European politicians have called the measure a step towards Ukraine’s coming closer to the EU, while Czech police and secret services are speaking about a security risk.

It may happen that the authorities will not have a detailed record of who enters the Czech Republic, Pravo writes.

An amended police development concept approved by the government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) on Wednesday warns of the potential risks.

The foreigner police warned of the problems last May when a public discussion of Ukrainians’ more liberal movement within the EU started, Pravo writes.

Now the police representatives say that due to the “unacceptable security risks,” they will need to increase the police staff.

This was confirmed by Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD).

“The foreigner police are intensively preparing themselves. It is true that the body lacks much personnel. Many new employees have to be hired,” Chovanec said.

“It may happen that some Ukrainians will try to work illegally here. If uncovered, they must reckon with the authorities treating them as illegal migrants,” he added.

Chovanec stressed that the lifting of visa requirements did not mean the right to work in the EU.

For this, those interested in the work here will still need the “employment card,” he added.

“We are quite ready to employ Ukrainians, especially in some professions, but the people must be coming legally in accordance with the valid legislation, not abusing the visa-free contact,” Chovanec said.

According to the foreigner police, Ukrainians are the most populous group of foreigners living in the Czech Republic. Their number keeps growing.

At the end of this March, the authorities recorded 117,722 Ukrainians with a legal stay in the Czech Republic, Pravo writes.

On the other hand, Ukrainians create also the most populous group of illegal migrants.

In 2016, 5,039 persons with illegal stay were found in the Czech Republic. Of them, the biggest number, 1,552, were from Ukraine. The number rose by one-quarter as against 2015, Pravo writes.

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