Requirement for Foreign Employees to Work
EU citizens as well as EEA and Swiss citizens do not need any visas/permits to travel and work in the Czech Republic as they have free access to the Czech labour market. Free access to the Czech labour market is currently also provided to all Ukrainian citizens granted temporary protection (the law enabling free access is valid until 31 March 2023).
In general, non-EU foreign employees may work on the basis of the below mentioned types of visas/permits:
- Blue card – for highly qualified employees (e.g. university degrees);
- Employee card (dual character) – the most common work permit, allowing the employee to work and stay in the Czech Republic;
- Combination of Employee card (non-dual character) and work permit – for employees not working directly for a Czech entity;
- Combination of Schengen visa and work permit – should the employee work in the Czech Republic for 3 months maximum;
- Intra-company Employee Transfer Card – if the purpose of residence is to temporarily transfer a foreign national from an entity abroad to an affiliated company in the CR. The period of such transfer must be longer than 90 days, and the foreign national must work as a manager, specialist or an employed intern. It entitles its holder both to reside and work in the CR;
- Schengen visa work business purpose – only for passive business purposes (e.g. attending a conference).
Prior to applying for the above-mentioned cards/permits (except the Schengen visa for business purpose) a labour market test must be completed. In practice, this means that the employer must notify the Labour Office about the vacant position, which is then published on the Labour Office’s website for 30 days (in some specified cases 10) and potential applicants may apply for the position. However, there is no legal requirement to actually hire any of these applicants even if they would be suitable for the position, which renders the labour market test a formality only.
The employer has some administrative obligations arising from the employment of foreign nationals (mainly a notification obligation towards the state authorities at the beginning, end or in case of a change of the employment).
The employer should also be aware of whether all foreign national employees have valid immigration work permits because it is the employer who is responsible for such check. The way the employer can check employee’s nationality or required permits is e.g., via the PRADO online system.
Does a Foreign Employer need to Establish or Work through a Local Entity to Hire an Employee?
In general, the Labour Code defines the term employer very broadly and does not require the form of the employer’s entity. However, other laws (e.g., the Business Corporations Act, tax laws) set rules for a foreign legal entity that they can start business in the Czech Republic only on the day of registration in the Commercial Register. A foreign company can choose to establish permanent operations in the Czech Republic by creating a branch or by establishing a business company.
Limitations on Background Checks
The employer may only seek information that is directly connected with the work to be performed by the candidate and the law specifically prohibits requesting certain types of personal information. Hence comprehensive backgrounds checks are not typical in the Czech Republic – recruiters usually check only information provided directly by the candidate (CV) and look through publicly available information (e.g., provided by the candidate on social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) or try to gather information about the employee from past employers (reference letters, etc.).
The employer may also not obtain this information through third parties; hence backgrounds check providers e.g., as in the US, are not common in the Czech Republic.
Criminal records cannot be requested unless a substantive reason exists due to the nature of the work that is to be performed and provided that the requirement for information is appropriate (for instance, in case of employees handling a large amount of cash, the employer may ask for their criminal record check as it is justified by the potential risk of fraud) or when another act states the condition of a clear criminal record.
Medical check-ups are not required prior to hiring, but they are mandatory prior the employee starting work. These are to confirm whether or not the employee is fit to carry out the work in the agreed position. Besides the initial check-up, further regular check-ups during the employment are mandatory depending on the type of work. For normal office work, the requirement for a mandatory periodical check-up is every six years, and every four years for employees aged over 50 years.
Restrictions on Application/Interview Questions
An employer must treat employees equally and avoid discrimination during the entire employment relationship, even during the hiring process. As such, the recruiter should avoid asking questions that could imply discrimination against the candidate.
In addition, the Labour Code specifically says that the employer may not seek/request information from the employee/candidate that is not directly related to the performance of work and the employment relationship. In particular, the employer may not request information on:
- family and property relations,
- criminal records,
unless a substantive reason exists due to the nature of the work that is to be performed and provided that the requirement for information is appropriate (for instance, in case of employees handling a large amount of cash, the employer may ask for a criminal record check as it is justified by the potential risk of fraud; however, such requirement would not be justified for a regular maintenance worker, etc.).
In addition, pursuant to the Labour Code, the employer may not require information on:
- sexual orientation,
- membership in a trade union,
- membership in political parties or movements,
- membership in a church or religious society.
Questions that are permitted and routinely asked usually include the candidates’ identity, education (including asking for diplomas, certificates, etc.) or employment history.
There are no other specific local regulations pertaining to the application apart from compliance with data privacy laws (including the European General Data Protection Regulation) and the prohibition of seeking certain information about the employee.