While the effects of a “hard Brexit” are yet to be known, Czech politicians are preparing for that possible reality as the EU’s Brexit deadline of March 29 quickly approaches.
Of primary concern are both the rights of British citizens currently residing in the Czech Republic, and Czech citizens in the UK.
Rather than wait for a deal to be worked out, or react to the fallout that may occur in a post-Brexit Europe, Czech MPs are currently drafting a bill that would cover the rights of British citizens living in the Czech Republic.
The new bill has been approved by MPs in the Czech Chamber of Deputies, and will now head to the Senate before being drafted into law. Given the quickly-approaching Brexit deadline, MPs have asked for an accelerated timeline for it to be processed.
In case of a hard Brexit, British citizens residing in the Czech Republic would have the same rights as EU citizens over the next two years, according to the draft bill.
Beyond that, the bill would regulate long-term and permanent residency of British citizens in the Czech Republic, the employment of British citizens in the country, marriage between Britons and Czechs, the acquisition of Czech citizenship, and more, including income tax and pension plan agreements between the two countries.
It would only come into effect if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement in place.
A possible hiccup, however, might be that the Czech Republic would expect a reciprocal agreement to protect the rights of Czech citizens residing the United Kingdom.
“I am glad that we managed to convince MPs of the need to pass the law swiftly,” said Czech Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček, as reported by iDnes.cz.
“By guaranteeing the current British conditions, we also protect 40,000 of our citizens in the United Kingdom.”
There are approximately 5,000 British citizens currently registered as employees in the Czech labor market, and an additional estimated 8,000 currently residing in the Czech Republic.