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Foreigners in no hurry to pass Czech exam

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Although in two weeks foreigners applying for permanent residency in the Czech Republic will be required to prove their knowledge of Czech, there have not been that many people interested in taking the exam. And the Interior Ministry has not yet issued more than three dozen of vouchers that would enable foreigners to take the test for free. “If they don’t pass the exam, they will have to pay to retake the exam,” said Hana Malá from the Interior Ministry.

According to data from October, over 431,000 foreigners live in the Czech Republic, out of which about 171,000 have permanent residency. Most foreigners come from Ukraine, Slovakia, Vietnam, Russia and Poland. They can apply for permanent residency after five years.

Not every foreigner has to take the exam, which tests the lowest language level, designated as A1. There are exceptions in the law. These include children up to 15 years of age, people older than 60 years and those who have in the past twenty years attended at least one year of primary or secondary school where classes were held in Czech. Neither mentally nor physically handicapped are required to take the exam, and the same applies to the citizens of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland.

A voucher worth CZK 1,500 can be picked up at the Interior Ministry’s offices in Prague, Brno or Ostrava. The financing of the exam is a compromise. Originally there were proposals that the test for foreigners would be fully covered or that foreigners would pay everything by themselves. Paying for resists should motivate students.

Foreigners also have to pay if they need language courses before the exam. Prices for “commercial” courses start at around CZK 3,000. More information can be found at the website which is available in six languages.

An example from the test:

Nutně potřebujete ihned opravit boty. Kam půjdete?

a) Rychloopravna obuvi
Po – Pá: 9.00 – 18.00
Dnes z provozních důvodů zavřeno!

b) Opravna obuvi

Opravy bot na počkání!

Do druhého dne – sleva 5 %!

Tašky neopravujeme!

c) Obuvník – Matěj Švec

Podpatky, lepení, šití, výměna zipů atd.

Bezkonkurenční ceny!

Vše za dva až tři dny!

d) Opravujeme boty, tašky, kabelky!

Po – Pá: 8.00 – 17.00, So: 10.00 – 15.00

Opravy obuvi do 30min.

Pozor: Tento týden dovolená!

(Translator’s note: The correct answer is b.)

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.

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