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Integration of Foreigners within the Czech Republic

The Policy for the Integration of Foreigners
was adopted by Czech Government Resolution No. 1266 of 11 December 2000. It was based on the Principles of Policy for the Integration of Foreigners within the Territory of the Czech Republic adopted by Czech Government Resolution No. 689 of 7 July 1999, on the intrastate legal arrangement regarding the position of foreigners in particular areas of their integration and on international documents applicable in the given area. The last Updated Policy for Integration of Immigrants – Living Together – and Proposal for Further Steps in the Year 2011 (pdf, 280 kB) was adopted by Czech Government Resolution No. 99 of 9 February 2011. The coordination role in implementing the Policy for the Integration of Foreigners was transferred from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to the Ministry of the Interior by the Czech Government Resolution No. 979 of 23 July 2008.

Tuesday 05 June 2012 | editor Media4us

The Policy for the Integration of Foreigners has relies from the very start on the involvement of a number of departments (Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Health, Ministry for Local Development, Ministry of Culture) as well as other partners (regions, non-governmental non-profit organizations including foreigners’ organizations, social partners, etc.). It responds in this way to the fact that the integration of foreigners is a complex problem concerning a number of areas. Each year, the Report on the Realization of the Policy for the Integration of Foreigners is submitted to the government. In 2009, it was Czech Government Resolution No. 183 of 16 February 2009 to the Report on the Realization of the Policy for the Integration of Foreigners in 2008, in 2010, it was Czech Government Resolution No. 224 of 22 March 2010 to the Report on the Realization of the Policy for the Integration of Foreigners in 2009 (pdf, 392 kB), in 2011, it was Czech Government Resolution No. 99 of 9 February 2011 to the Updated Policy for the Integration of Foreigners – Living Together (pdf, 280 kB). At present, it is the Czech Government Resolution No. 6 of 4 January 2012 (pdf, 124 kB).
 
Target group
 
The basic target group of integration of foreigners is group of third-country nationals (i.e. non-EU Citizen) legally residing within the territory of the Czech Republic, who are not applicants for international protection neither recognized refugees. In exceptional cases, this target group can include also nationals of EU member states. Specific measures of the State Integration Programme apply to the integration of recognized refugees.
 
Overall control of the coordination of the integration policy under the Ministry of the Interior
 
The foreigners’ integration policy is understood as an integral part of the legal migration policy and it must respond to the development of migration. Henceforth, the integration policy will be focused not only on supporting the integration of legally residing foreigners into society but especially on the prevention of possible problems within immigration communities and their relationships with the majority. All the integration policy activities aim at trying to avoid the creation of closed immigrant communities, social isolation and the social exclusion of foreigners.
 
Henceforth, the integration policy will be based especially on the following principles:
  • practical cooperation of all subjects able to contribute to a successful course of integration;
  • efficiency of integration measures;
  • improvement of the awareness of all participants in the integration process;
  • clear and graspable results of all integration activities;
  • new tools (direct collaboration with municipalities, emergency projects, Integration Centres);
  • support of the development of civic society – especially in the regions in connection with the creation of regional integration centres
Priorities of the integration of foreigners
 
The targeted measures intended to serve as conditions of key importance for the successful integration of foreigners in the Czech Republic include:
  • knowledge of the Czech language on the foreigners’ part
  • economic self-sufficiency of the foreigner
  • foreigners’ knowledge of this society
  • mutual relations between foreigners and the majority society
Activity of municipalities, regions and non-governmental non-profit organizations
 
Integration is a process coming into fruition in the areas of the foreigners’ residence or work activities, i.e. on the regional and local levels. At the same time, municipalities and regions play an important role in providing central bodies of the state administration with feedback as regards the functioning of the integration policy, the situation and the position of foreigners in a given territory and the problems that need to be solved in the process of the foreigners’ integration. From the standpoint of efficient functioning of integration, the involvement of the local level in the creation and realization of the policy for the integration of foreigners is indispensable.
 
The efforts of the Ministry of the Interior to transfer specific measures concerning integration to the level of the regions are reflected in its support of the establishment of regional Integration Support Centres for Foreigners (Integration Centres) partially funded by means of the European Fund for the Integration of Third-country Nationals (EIF). These centres have operated since September 2009 in six regions (Plzeň, Pardubice, Moravskoslezský, Zlín, Jihomoravský, Ústí nad Labem). Further four centres were established during 2010 in South Moravian, Liberec, Karlovy Vary and Olomouc regions and similar centres will be established gradually in all regions of the Czech Republic. The centres serve as information centres for foreigners and a tool for the setup and realization of the integration policies in the regions. The centres, in close collaboration with the regions and NGOs, aim at providing advisory services for foreigners, language courses and other precautionary activities, permanent monitoring of the situation and support the development of civil society. More information is available at the websites of the Integration Support Centres for Foreigners, the Jihomoravský Region – Southern Moravia Integration Support Centre and the Ustí nad Labem region Integration Support Centre.
 
The Ministry of the Interior initiated the implementation of emergency projects providing comprehensive integration measurements in order to solve the critical situation in certain cities with a significant number of foreign workers. Such projects, implemented by the municipal governments, are responding to uncontrolled problems resulting from a sharp increase in the number of foreigners, dismissals of foreign workers, the creation of closed communities and growing tensions between foreigners and locals. In 2009, emergency projects were implemented in Plzeň, Havlíčkův Brod, Pardubice and the city districts of Praha 14, Praha 12 and Praha – Libuš; in 2010 also in Praha 13. As part of the project, Plzeň was the venue of the First National Conference of Statutory Cities Solving the Integration of Foreigners on the Municipal Level, a conference under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior held in the Czech Republic for the first time. It was followed by the Second National Conference of Statutory Cities entitled „Current Challenges in the area of Integration of Foreigners“. This conference took place in Pardubice in 2011. The Third conference took place Havlíčkův Brod in 2012 and was entitled “Integration of Foreigners from the point of the view of Municipalities”
 
Non-governmental non-profit organizations (NGOs) play an irreplaceable role in the area of the integration of foreigners. The Policy for the Integration of Foreigners provides the framework for supporting such organizations in their establishment, activity and development and creates conditions for their active participation in the integration of foreigners. The activities of NGOs in the area of supporting the integration of foreigners are sponsored from the state budget funds (subsidies from ministries), from the funds of the European Fund for the Integration of Third-country Nationals (EIF) and other EU or EEC funds.
 
Information about and for foreigners
 
The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs continuously update their common website Foreigners in the Czech Republic (http://www.cizinci.cz) providing access to required documents and contacts for the state administration staff and other subjects, as well as necessary information facilitating the standard course in the realization of the integration of foreigners in the Czech Republic. The Ministry of the Interior brought out an updated guidebook Information Booklet for Foreign Nationals - Czech Republic.
 
Further information
 
Further information on the integration of foreigners is available e.g. on the websites of participating ministries (Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Health care, Ministry for Regional Development, Ministry of Culture), on the Czech Statistical Office website and on the Public Administration of the Czech Republic website in the "Cizinec" (Foreigner) section.
 

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