How to get a Czech Republic work visa?

Many foreigners ask, “So how do I get a Czech Republic work visa?” when, in fact visas don’t have much to do with migration, nor with work in this country. And the choice of words shows that the system is so complex people don’t even know what they’re talking about. This article breaks down the main possible options for obtaining a Czech work permit and residence permit for Czech Republic. The article also provides links to pages with open vacancies from foreigner-friendly employers ready to “sponsor a work visa”.

Czech Republic work visa

Why is the term Czech Republic work visa incorrect?

Normally, to live and work in Czech Republic you need…

  • a document that allows you to live here for a specific purpose (i.e. residence permit), and
  • a document that allows you to work here (i.e. work permit, but not only, and you’ll read about it below).

You might have heard terms like Employee Card and Blue Card. These are cards that simply combine the functionality of both above mentioned documents. They of course make the whole bureaucratic process much faster. Simply put, if you obtain an Employee Card or a Blue Card, you don’t need any document that allows you to live in Czech Republic.

On the other hand, a visa is just a document that allows you to stay in the country, not to live here. Typically visas are issues for a specific purpose, like travel or family visit. Regular short-term visas for non-EU citizens are normally issues for a limited period of time, typically for up to 90 days. You can read more about-short term visas for non-EU citizens on the website of the Ministry of The Interior. There are also types of long-term visas (over 90 days validity) that the Ministry writes about. But, again, these long-term visas have a very limited scope as well.

You cannot really live here, work and function in the society in the long run with a visa. So, that’s not relevant for us. Focus on obtaining the right permissions in order to start living and working in Czech Republic. Those permissions that will do that in the shortest amount of time. Especially if you are a non-EU citizen, the process is long and tedious enough. So, don’t waste time on sub-optimal kinds of permits. Keep reading, to learn more.

How do you get a document that allows you to work here?

First, understand if you even need a document that allows you to work in Czech Republic. Earlier, in a separate article, we outlined two groups of foreigners who do not need any kind of work permit to work in Czech Republic thanks to their free access to the Czech job market. It’s about EU citizens and long-term residents, their family members, full time students at Czech universities and many others. If there is any chance you fit into one of those groups, read that article first. Otherwise keep reading below.

The third, and the largest, category consists of everyone else – most non-EU citizens. These people have one of these three options:

  1. obtaining a Blue Card
  2. getting an Employee Card
  3. getting a work permit and a document that allows them to live in Czech Republic

None of these is a ‘Czech Republic work visa’. But what is the difference?

See our article called ‘Blue Card, Employee Card or work permit in Czech Republic – what’s the difference?’ to choose the scenario that is the most suitable for you. Here is just a quick summary:

  • Blue Cards are issued for jobs suitable for people with higher degree of education and who are aiming at salaries 1,5 higher than the national average.
  • Employee Cards are for all other kinds of legit jobs.
  • Vacancies that are suitable for a Blue or an Employee card have to be announced to the Labour office, who then has 30 days to do their best to fill those vacancies by an EU citizen or their family member. If they fail, the vacancy becomes open for non-EU citizens to apply.
  • Work permits are largely not suitable for people seeking for a professional occupation. These are usually relevant for short-term employment, internships or business owners seeking to be “employed” in their own company. The process is very tiring and slow. It’s also highly unpopular among businesses that are genuinely interesting in hiring a foreigner. Since these cases are rarely relevant for our audience, we are not going to investigate this topic in great detail.  

What should be your first step, though?

All these three routes have one thing in common. In all three cases, first, you need to find a job with an employer who is ready to employ a foreigner by “sponsoring their work visa” in Czechia. It means they must be ready to take the necessary steps to arrange your documents and most importantly wait for you.

You can look for jobs on any popular online job board, like www.jobs.cz, for example. Then you’ll need to convince them to take all the steps below for you to obtain the right documents. But in most cases, they want to fill the role immediately. Also, often they don’t know how to deal with the bureaucracy associated with employing foreigners. Therefore, we think it’s better to focus on those employers who are actively seeking to employ a foreigner. They would certainly be ready to go through all the bureaucratic hurdles and wait for you. But how to find them? Keep reading!

Now, when you are no longer looking for a Czech Republic work visa… Find an employer who is ready to get you a Blue/Employee Card

The Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA) runs a portal with tens of thousands of open vacancies from such foreigner-friendly employers. You can browse through the jobs there and connect with those employers directly via email or phone. Make sure you have a compelling CV before you contact any of those employers. Take our CV tips on board – that will certainly help. And, please (PLEASE!), do not make these common mistakes on social media that foreigners often make when they post in efforts to find a job in Czech Republic.

The Ministry used to sort all these job offers into three separate search engines – one for vacancies suitable for a Blue Card, one for an Employee Card vacancies and one for vacancies generally open for foreigners (i.e. open for work permit applications). Luckily at the end of 2019 they managed to merge all three into one database of vacancies suitable for foreigners (click that link to see all the vacancies). Once you open any job vacancy you can see which type of Employment permit the job is suitable for – Work permit, Blue Card or Employee card. You can also filter by these categories.

Last time I checked, the portal had over 27000 active job vacancies listed in Prague alone. It’s also important to note, that there are tens of thousands of vacancies spread throughout the country. The job vacancies listed there as suitable for foreigners cover diverse fields of occupation and a wide range of skills and occupations. So, definitely check it out.

Unfortunately, some offers posted on MLSA portal as suitable for Blue/Employee Cards are not genuine. They are from employers who have, in fact, already found a foreigner they want to employ. Nonetheless, to have the permit granted for their selected candidate, they are obliged to post the vacancy there. You might end up hijacking someone’s job offer if you are a better candidate. But, unfortunately, you can’t filter out genuine, open vacancies from those posted just because the law requires that. In regards the vacancies in the ‘open for work permit application’ category, we think most of them are not genuine.

Go an extra mile if you want your Czech republic work permit or one of the cards.

Also, you should certainly register your own professional profile on this portal for potential employers to see. The truth is, employers who are genuinely looking to hire a foreigner and “sponsor” their employment permit, they wouldn’t miss a chance to browse through already registered candidates and try to contact them.

We noticed that some hard coded fields (i.e. Region, district etc.) show up in Czech even if you open the English version of the portal. So, we recommend you keep that in mind and use Czech names of cities and districts you’re looking to be employed in. We believe it would work better for filtering.

Do you need any other document (e.g. that allows you to live here)?

This depends on your passport, your residence status in Czech Republic and in some ways even on your education. We cover this in more detail in our separate article about getting the right documents to live in Czech Republic.

It’s clear that obtaining all the necessary documents requires time and effort. But knowing your options is the first step to success. It also helps you focus on what brings the best outcome for you. So next time you hear someone say they need a Czech Republic work visa, out 5 min into educating them on the topic. Help them find their way through our beloved Czech bureaucratic system. 😊

Whether you already have a work permit for Czech Republic or not, if you are looking for a job in Prague, consider joining our group on Facebook. Other expat professionals like yourself post jobs regularly there, and they constantly network with each other for great opportunities.

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