- Hans Weber
- November 29, 2023
Czech Republic Introduces Payment Requirement for Language Exam in Permanent Residence Applications for Foreigners
Foreigners seeking permanent residence in the Czech Republic will now be required to pay for the Czech language exam starting from next year, according to a government amendment approved by the cabinet. This change means that the Czech Interior Ministry will cease to provide and reimburse vouchers for the Czech language exam. The maximum price for the exam will also increase from CZK 2,500 to CZK 3,200, effective January 2024.
However, this amendment will exempt foreign doctors, dentists, and pharmacists from the Czech language exam requirement. Instead, these professionals will demonstrate their language proficiency through the approbation exam they are required to pass to practice their medical professions.
The decision to end the voucher system for the language exam is attributed to the rising demand due to an influx of refugees from Ukraine, as well as increased interest from applicants who arrived in the Czech Republic under the scheme for highly qualified employees. The government expects around 30,000 applications for permanent residence in the country this year, while approximately 2,500 applicants underwent the language exam in 2020.
The state’s annual expenditure on the Czech language exam vouchers is substantial, amounting to nearly CZK 20 million when demand is high.
Aside from the existing lower-level Czech language exam, applicants can also demonstrate their Czech knowledge through the citizenship exam covering the Czech language and basic facts about life and institutions in the Czech Republic. Another option is the special exam recognizing professional competence for foreign doctors, dentists, and pharmacists.
The amendment aims to streamline administration and improve access for foreign doctors seeking to integrate into the Czech healthcare system. The authors of the amendment emphasize that passing any of the aforementioned exams indicates a higher level of language proficiency than required for permanent residence applications. Thus, they propose recognizing these exams as equivalent to the Czech language exam for the purpose of obtaining permanent residence.
Foreigners are eligible to apply for permanent residence in the Czech Republic after residing in the country for five years or with a blue card, granting access to the labor market and welfare system. To qualify, applicants need to demonstrate their proficiency in the Czech language at A2 level or higher.
Previously, individuals could obtain vouchers for the language exam costs at asylum centers, with the Interior Ministry reimbursing CZK 2,500 per test. This support was designed to encourage foreigners to attain language proficiency. If unsuccessful, applicants would cover the costs of subsequent exams themselves. Notably, certain groups such as children under 15, individuals over 60, disabled individuals, and those who have attended Czech schools for at least a year or hold a secondary school diploma or state exam in Czech are exempt from the language exam requirement.
Article by Prague Forum