Prague, Dec 18 (CTK) – The Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU), a Czech NGO, criticises the approach to migrants, urges the state to treat them decently and condemns what it calls hostile official procedures and the ineffective visa registration system in its statement on the International Migrants Day yesterday.
A total of 491,871 foreigners were staying in the Czech Republic at the end of October. Out of them, more than 25 percent were Ukrainians, over 20 percent Slovaks and 12 percent Vietnamese.
Migrants usually come to the Czech Republic for job, study, business or family purposes.
Since mid-June 2015, when the Czech police checks intensified due to international developments, the police have detained 3,780 foreigners without appropriate documents, including children.
At present, 82 foreigners are staying in the country’s four migrant detention facilities with a total capacity of 1,230 beds.
OPU head Martin Rozumek said a society’s approach to those disadvantaged and vulnerable indicates its development level.
Czech policy towards migrants, the observance of their rights and a decent approach to them have failed. Foreigners often work in positions that are shunned by Czechs, Rozumek said.
“The demographic prospect of our society is gloomy. Foreigners are badly needed not only by our business companies but also hospitals, scientific institutes and universities, if we want to be a competitive country based on education, not an under-average nationalist backcountry,” Rozumek said.
OPU writes that foreigners face problems in the very process of gaining Czech visas.
Many of them attain their listing in the Visapoint registration system only with the help of bribery.
“This applies to our embassies in many countries, for example Ukraine, Vietnam and Mongolia. It leads to the applicants, for example Vietnamese, getting dependent on the mediators and heavily indebted,” OPU writes.
As a result, foreigners fall victims to long-lasting exploitation, it writes.
The visa registration system also makes the life difficult for the foreigners who live in the Czech Republic and want to invite their families abroad to reunite with them. Furthermore, it complicates the situation of the business companies seeking new workforce, OPU writes.
It says Czech authorities put obstacles to the foreigners who have lived and worked in the Czech Republic for a long time. This applies to the procedures such the stay permit issuance or extension and the reuniting of families, OPU writes.
It criticises the impossibility for immigrants to enter the Czech public health insurance system. They cannot join but private insurance schemes.
OPU is also critical of Czech politicians’ approach. Tough comments on migrants have been even heard from high-ranking politicians from parties adhering to the principle of solidarity, it writes.
More than a half (55 percent) of the foreigners who legally stay in the Czech Republic have a permanent residence permit.
By the end of October, 271,551 foreigners had a permanent residence permit, including almost three quarters of the total of the country’s 109,243 Ukrainians.
Twelve people with the refugee status stayed in the Czech Republic in October.
In the first ten months of the year, 145 foreigners applied for international protection in the Czech Republic. About one third of them were Ukrainians. The second strongest group were Cubans, 11 of whom applied for protection in the given period.