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Everything you should know about your house cleaner (but are afraid to ask)

“Originally, I am a nursery school teacher. I am not a cleaner. I do have a proper education. However, when I first came to the Czech Republic I was trying to get any job. I worked in a restaurant kitchen. After some time, I started to do house cleaning for families. In order to be more independent, I have arranged for a business licence. However, it was not as easy as I would have thought…” says 31- year-old Nina from Ukraine. Nina left her little daughter in the Ukraine, where she is currently in the care of her relatives. Indeed, there are many more similar stories in our households. Read more about them on www.pracovnicevdomacnosti.cz.

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Commission urges Member States to implement ILO domestic workers convention

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.

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What does „citizenship“ mean?

The proposal of the new Czech citizenship law caused a lot of controversy between the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, responsible for the proposal and migration specialists, NGO’s and activists. Although the proposal certainly brings few very welcome positive changes, like the possibility of double citizenship, some paragraphs have been criticized from many different points of view. But all of the critics agree in one point – a discussion about the very concept of citizenship must be opened and questions like „what does citizenship really mean?“ and „who’s entitled to be a citizen of a nation state?“ must be raised.

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ENAR´s Shadow Report on racism pictures Czech Republic´s background

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.

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Europe´s final decision on Schengen´s enlargement

The final pronouncement of the European Justice and Home Affairs Council finally arrived: the “Smart Borders Package” will be adopted, together with the SIS II system. No chance for Bulgaria and Romania to enter in the Schengen zone, instead.

Last Thursday, the European Justice and Home Affairs Council was called to decide about the adoption of two innovative systems aimed to improve third country nationals´ mobility towards Europe: SIS II and the “Smart Borders Package”.While the adoption of those two items was more or less taken for granted, there was a bigger suspense regarding the Schengen enlargement to Bulgaria and Romania.

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New challenges for the Schengen system: EC Home Affairs discuss it on Thursday 7th March

Next 7th March 2013, the Justice and Home Affairs Council will be called to make a core decision about the institution and the functioning of the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), but it is also expected to discuss other topics like border controls for third country nationals or accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area.

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A big step forward in Europe: Italy´s ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention

Woman hanging laundry from balcony

Woman hanging laundry (author:Elizabeth Buie, flickr)

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.

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Czech Republic Debate: Employment of Foreign Child-minders in Czech Republic

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.

New Czech Citizenship Bill

Stricter requirements and more uncertainty for Czech citizenship applicants – this is what brings the new Czech citizenship bill.

The government of the Czech Republic did not meet the requirements of many migration experts by approving a new bill on acquiring the Czech citizenship at the beginning of October 2012. It introduces several new conditions for those interested in becoming Czech citizen. At the same time the bill does not eliminate their legal uncertainty during the acquisition process as both the experts and representatives of migrants assisting nonprofit organizations have warned. They had suggested series of improvement proposals, but most of them hadn’t been accepted.

According to the new bill the Ministry of the Interior would still not be obliged to grant the citizenship of the Czech Republic to persons satisfying all legal requirements. Extensive powers of the government officials will be maintained.

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Risk to migrants, profit to health insurance companies

In the Czech Republic, a third of migrants with a temporary residence (143 – 150 000 people) are excluded from the public health insurance system. This group consists mainly of entrepreneurs, students, and family members either of a third country citizen or of a Czech citizen They rely on an ineffective commercial health insurance system whose conditions are worse than the public system.

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