How is the Czech Ministry of the Interior (not) working: Thousands of immigrants´applications after the legal deadline in Prague
The ministry wasn`t in time to deal with almost 17 thousands of long-term residence and more than 7 thousands of permanent residence (i.e. long-term residence according to EU terminology) before the legally set deadline. The Department for Asylum and Migration Policy has 30 or 60 days to issue or prolong any visa or residence permit; however, in practice it takes many months or even years to do this. Migrants are waiting in doubt for half a year and sometimes even longer. How many applications were delivered and how many of them weren`t processed in a proper time you can see in the graph below. Part of this amount may consist of documentation of interrupted processes.
The long executive process has very negative influence on migrants` lives and also on their integration to the Czech society. If they are for example applying for permanent residence with the purpose of family reunification, very often they can`t live together with their relatives and they have to deal with the family situation provisionally. In the case that married couple has a newborn child during the long period of processing the residence application, the baby is coming to an uncertain space. The baby cannot obtain any residence status because the one of its parents are still not being processed. It makes difficult or even impossible any travels (to see for example the rest of their family abroad). You can hear more details in a radio feature about family whose children was waiting more than year to get a visa here (available in Czech only).
During three weeks of September and October, an intermediary agency called Cizinky na úklid (Foreigners for cleaning) was marketazing its services: they were offering services of migrant women for the households – discretely, for a really cheap price and without unnecessary bureaucracy. It was supposed to start its activities on the 15th of October. Fortunately it did not happen because the agency is not real.
It was “established” by non-profit organizations Association for Integration and Migration and People in Need, commentator Kateřina Kristelová and creative agency Ogilvy&Mather and Mather Advertures as part of a campaign promoting the rights of migrants-domestic workers and aiming to reach wider public. We would like to apologize to those who received untruthful or zero information in a few past weeks. Also we would like to explain our motivation.
The Council of the Government of the Czech Republic for Human Rights dedicated the latest meeting at 7th of October 2013 to the issues of immigrants´ rights. Topics such as migrant’s access to the health insurance, restrictions connected with employment of international workers and functioning of VISAPOINT system for visa applications in foreign countries have been discussed.
The European Commission has presented a proposal for a Council Decision authorising Member States to ratify the International Labour Organisation 2011 Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers (Convention No. 189). Countries ratifying the ILO Convention agree to ensure fair and decent conditions for domestic workers by protecting their fundamental labour related rights, preventing abuse and violence and establishing safeguards for young domestic workers.
ENAR (European Network against racism), released the annual report on “Racism and related discriminatory practices in the Czech Republic” for the year 2011-2012; emphasizing public authorities´ main lacks and contemporary challenges.
The Report´s first aim is to investigate Czech society´s concerns (diversity perception, social welfare´ access, schooling, and so on) about Roma community and also migrants; giving, at the same time, an eye to Islamophobia and Muslims as a comparison between the minorities.
ILO´s Domestic Workers Convention has been ratified by first European country. Italy took the lead to improve its domestic workers living conditions and to protect their rights. A brief overview of Italy´s social and economic context that induced this decision is presented below.
´´Today, we are taking a historic step forward in the protection of workers´ rights, as we are legally recognizing the domestic work as a real and effective professional activity´´. With these words, Giulio Terzi, the current Italian Foreign Minister, has welcomed the Domestic Workers Convention. It is claimed to be a device for social cohesion and protection, but also an expression of civility for all the domestic workers.
On 18 October 2012 Člověk v tísni organized screening of documentary Mama Illegal followed by debate with Filipino child-minder and Czech anthropologist. On 14 November 2012 the organization published a report from the debate. The main speakers Kristine Go and Petra Ezzeddine presented the experiences of child-minders from the Philippines and post-soviet states, which form the main groups of female child-minders working in the Czech Republic. The debate covered the topics of shared migrant experiences: separation from family members, strains of long-distance communication and uncertainty of residence status. It also concentrated on the problematic relationships of the employers and migrant workers, lack of social security and the costs of transnational motherhood. The visitors also discussed the general background of the trend of hiring foreign child-minders and its negative outcomes in the states of origin: ineffective state support, various forms of social criticism, alcoholism of men and unprovided children.
At a meeting on 8th August, the Senate Committee on Health and Social Policy refused to ratify the Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers, issued by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which the Czech government had previously recommended not to ratify. Legislators defend the decision by pointing out that “domestic workers are only a marginal group on the Czech labor market and that this issue relates more to developing countries.”
According to information from non-profit organizations, including the People in Need, however, domestic workers are by no means a “marginal” group. On the contrary, the number of foreigners working in Czech households is in the tens of thousands and likely to increase in the future.
Integrating immigrants: New study compares and ranks Czech Republic against other countries in Europe and North America
28 February 2011 – A new study published today by the British Council and the Migration Policy Group shows that the Czech Republic remains below the European average in integration of third-country foreigners. This group of 295,600 people represents 2/3 of all foreigners and 2.8% of the whole population in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic is tied for 19th place in the ranking of the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX: www.mipex.eu) MIPEX contrasts and compares integration policies across 31 countries in Europe and North America. The best overall score has been achieved by Sweden. The best ranking country of the Central and Eastern Europe is Slovenia.
The integration policies in the Czech Republic are rather unfavourable. According to MIPEX, the legal conditions in the areas of employment, family and education are well set up; however, the implementation and the discretion remain problematic. Access to the citizenship as well as political participation is also considered insufficient.
The study benchmarks whether governments grant equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities for all residents – international standards that have been agreed upon by EU Member States. These high standards are critical as successful integration helps create more competitive and cohesive societies. The major findings regarding the Czech Republic in this study include: Read the rest of this entry »