For qualified employers who wish to transfer certain foreign employees to the Czech Republic as “local hires,” an expanded new program will provide some benefits. The Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade released information this week about the expansion of the Welcome Package for Investors. When the program launched in 2012, only seconded intra-company transfers (ICTs) who remained on foreign contract/payroll were eligible to participate. Effective this month, employees are eligible for this program if they are in “manager” and “key specialist” roles and if they will be transferred to local Czech contact/payroll capacities. The program is expected to be available until 2015.

The program provides a quicker and more streamlined application process for work permits. Under the program:

  • The processing time for work permits reduces to 10 business days. Currently, processing in Prague can require as long as 70 days.
  • The processing time for long-term work visas reduces to 30 calendar days. Currently, processing of work visas can last as long as 60 days.
  • A company declaration of competence for the position will be accepted in lieu of proof of foreign educational credentials.
  • Under certain circumstances, a contract of accommodation with a Czech hotel may be accepted in lieu of proof of accommodation in the country.

To be eligible to participate, employers must:

  • Receive advance permission from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to enter the program.
  • Employ at least 50 people for three consecutive years, for companies in the manufacturing or business support services fields.
  • Employ at least 20 people for three consecutive years, for companies in the IT or software development fields.
  • Provide proof of payment for requisite tax payments, salaries, health insurance and social security premiums in the Czech Republic.
  • Have conducted business in the Czech Republic for at least two years.
  • Provide proof of contract purchasing land or lease of a commercial property.
  • Have at least CZK 50 million in long-term tangible assets over the course of the company’s existence in the country as of the last fiscal year, for companies in the manufacturing fields.
  • Have spent at least CZK 35 million in employee wages over the past two years, for companies in the business support services, IT/software development, and research and development fields.

To be eligible for this program under the extension, employees must be:

  • Visa-waiver nationals.
  • Intracompany transfers who remain on foreign contract/payroll or who are placed on local Czech contract/payroll.

Qualified as a “manager” or “key specialist,” as defined by:

  1. A “manager” is defined as a person working in a management position who primarily conducts the management of the company, a division, department or other unit of such company. The role performs supervision of other employees and has the authority to audit, hire and dismiss employees or recommend the recruitment and dismissal of employees, as well as other personnel measures.
  1. A “key specialist” is defined as a person who has specific knowledge and skills that are of fundamental importance for the successful launch of a new company’s operations or technology. At the same time, this is a person who transfers specific company operations knowledge to Czech workers.

BAL is awaiting confirmation from CzechInvest and the Ministry of Trade on specific items. For example, whether beneficiaries of the program may work at client sites; whether dependents will also benefit from the 30-day visa processing time; the validity period of the work permits and visas; and whether the transferee must fill a similar position in the Czech Republic that they filled in their home countries.

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